Chedeng intensifies further-A A +A
Thursday, May 26, 2011
MANILA -- Typhoon Chedeng intensified further late Wednesday night as it moved northwest and may make landfall Friday afternoon over Aurora and Isabela provinces.
In its 11 p.m. Wednesday bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Chedeng was at 310 kilometers east of Catarman, Northern Samar.
It said Chedeng (international codename: Songda) packed maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center, gustiness of up to 185 kph and moving northwest at 15 kph.
Public storm signal no. 2 has been raised over the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon, and Samar provinces.
Meanwhile, public storm signal no. 1 has been hoisted over Marinduque, Masbate, Burias and Ticao islands, Quezon including Polilio Island and Aurora, Northern Leyte, and Biliran Island.
Robert Sawi, Pagasa acting weather division chief, said Chedeng is expected to make landfall near the vicinity of Aurora and Isabela around 2 p.m. Friday.
Pagasa's forecast is now consistent with international weather agencies, which believed that Chedeng will only graze some parts of Northern Luzon.
In its 11:40 a.m. update, the Japanese Meteorological Agency projected Chedeng to reach the east of Luzon by Thursday, east of Northeast Luzon by Friday, and east of Extreme Northern Luzon by Saturday.
On the other hand, the United States Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) based in Hawaii reported a roughly northward track along the Philippines’ eastern coast.
"The whole of Luzon will be wet as Chedeng moves closer. We anticipate a stormy weather in Northern and Central Luzon on Friday and Saturday. The seaboards of Luzon and Visayas will be moderate to rough, which is really dangerous for fishermen," Sawi said.
By Thursday evening, Chedeng will be at 190 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, while it is expected to be at the vicinity of Tuguegarao by Friday evening.
It is expected to be 90 kilometers northwest of Basco, Batanes. It will leave the Philippine area of responsibility by Sunday morning, according to Pagasa.
Consistent with the zero-casualty policy of President Benigno Aquino III, nearly 50,000 families in Albay were moved to safer ground.
"We expect rain to be our worst enemy, not wind. Rains can potentially kill more people,” Albay Governor Joey Salceda said in a radio interview.
Around 1,000 people, meanwhile, were stranded in ports in the Bicol Region due to the typhoon, the Philippine Coast Guard said in a report.
In Zamboanga City, at least 1,100 families fled their homes as incessant rains triggered by Typhoon Chedeng have caused rivers to swell.
Floodwater rose as high as 7.5 feet, the local police reported.
Earlier, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) prepared some P25.73 million in funds, including P3.19 million in standby funds and P22.53 million in relief goods.
Canceled and diverted flights
Also on Wednesday, low-cost airline Cebu Pacific canceled roundtrip flights to Naga City while two planes from Davao and Iloilo bound for Manila were diverted to an airport in Pampanga due to the typhoon.
In an advisory, the airline said flights 5J-523 and 524 (Manila-Naga-Manila) were called off due to expected onslaught of the typhoon in the Bicol Region, where Pagasa hoisted typhoon signal number two over its provinces.
"Affected passengers will be accommodated on the next available flights. We always place top priority in your safety; thank you for your understanding,” the airline said.
On the other hand, monsoon rains in Manila forced flight 5J 966 (Davao-Manila) and 5J 450 (Iloilo-Manila) to deplane at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Pampanga.
The next available flights will still fly to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila unless the weather does not improve, Cebu Pacific said. Other airlines have yet to post their respective travel advisories.
No declaration of rainy season yet
In other developments, Chedeng may hasten the onset of rainy season in the country but this will not be declared soon as some requirements have yet to be met.
Dr. Flaviana Hilario, Pagasa's acting deputy administrator for Research and Development, said that the amount of rainfall for five days should reach 25 millimeters.
The volume of rainfall should also not be less than one millimeter for three consecutive days.
Currently, eight weather stations of Pagasa are monitoring the amount of rainfall.
These are located in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte; Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Dagupan City, Pangasinan; Iba, Zambales; San Jose, Mindoro; Metro Manila, Ambulong Island in Mindoro and Iloilo province.
“We can declare the entry of the rainy season if five of these weather stations will report that the criteria were satisfied,” Hilario said.
Chedeng is expected to bring rains in most parts of the Philippines as it will enhance the southwest monsoon.
Based on satellite images, the storm will bring at least 400 millimeters of rainfall to Northern Luzon later this week. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)