PDRRMCs alerted as Caloy nears

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Friday, March 21, 2014


THE different Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (PDRRMCs) in Davao Region are now on alert as the low pressure area that entered the Philippine area of responsibility on Wednesday intensified into Tropical Depression Caloy Friday.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Davao Director and RDRRMC-Davao chief retired Brigadier General Loreto Rirao said the PDRRMCs of Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur have conducted their respective preparations for Caloy.

The PDRRMC of Compostela Valley through Governor Arturo Uy has activated its Incident Command System to monitor any untoward incident while search and rescue operatives have been put on standby.

Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte PDRRMCs, meanwhile, activated their respective operation centers.

OCD-Davao chief for operations Antonio Cloma, in a separate interview, said the Municipal and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils will have a free-hand in determining whether a pre-emptive evacuation is necessary for their respective areas-of-responsibility (AORs).

"Sila ang may alam sa mga risks sa kanilang mga AOR kaya dapat alam din nila kung kelan sila magfa-facilitate ng pre-emptive evacuation. Siguradohin lang dapat nila na their evacuation will be conducted early para maiwasan talaga ang casualties," Cloma said.

He also advised residents in low-lying, flood-prone and landslide-prone areas to conduct a pre-emptive evacuation sooner, as they are the most vulnerable populace when the tropical depression makes its landfall.

On another note, Cloma said most of the 158 evacuees from the areas hit by the flood in Davao del Norte have returned to their homes as the floodwaters from the Libuganon and Saug River has subsided.

Tropical depression

At least 12 areas in Mindanao, including Davao City, were placed under storm signal number 1 as the low pressure area intensified into a tropical depression Friday morning.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that public storm warning signal number 1 was hoisted over Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Northern part of Davao del Sur, Davao City, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, and Misamis Oriental.

In its weather bulletin, Pagasa said Tropical Depression Caloy was located 330 kilometers east northeast of Davao City, packing maximum winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) near its center. Caloy was forecast to move westward at 11 kph as of 11 a.m. Friday.

In an interview, Pagasa weather forecaster Manny Mendoza said Caloy is the third tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and the first for this month of March.

Caloy is expected to be at 95 kilometers northeast of Davao City by Saturday morning and at 70 kilometers north of Cotabato City by Sunday morning.

By Monday morning, it is expected to be at 150 kilometers northwest of Zamboanga City, state weather forecasters said.

Expected impact

Pagasa said moderate to heavy rains (5 to 15 millimeters per hour) are expected within the 300 kilometers diameter of the tropical depression.

It also warned residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas in these places against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts were also advised not to sail into the northern seaboard of northern Luzon and the eastern seaboards of northern and Central Luzon due to the strong Amihan winds.

According to Pagasa, the potential impact of public storm warning signal number 1 (winds of 30-60 kph expected in at least 36 hours) is the following:

* Twigs and branches of trees may be broken

* Some banana plants may tilt or land flat on the ground
* Rice in flowering stage may suffer significant damage
* Some nipa and cogon houses may be partially unroofed
* Travel of small seacrafts and fishing boats is risky

If Caloy maintains its slow westward track, Pagasa said the cyclone will likely traverse Mindanao and may linger inside the country.

Because of the tropical depression, Mendoza said most parts of the Visayas and Mindanao will experience “cloudy skies” with light to moderate rains until weekend.

He noted that the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, will not be affected by the cyclone and will continue to experience fair weather aside from isolated light rains due to the northeasterly wind flow. (With PNA)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 22, 2014.

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