8 areas now under typhoon signal no. 3-A A +A
Monday, September 26, 2011
MANILA (5th Update, 8:32 p.m.) -- Typhoon "Pedring" continues to gather strength Monday afternoon, prompting state weather forecasters to raise public storm signal number 3 in eight areas in Luzon.
The typhoon is set to hit land Tuesday but officials said it already caused the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights and ferry services.
Placed on signal number 3 are Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Northern Quezon, Polillo Island, Aurora, Quirino and Isabela.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said these areas will experience winds of 101-185 kilometers per hour in at least 18 hours.
Heavy downpours and wind on Monday prompted the government to shut schools in the capital, Manila, while airlines canceled about 40 flights to central and eastern parts of the archipelago.
The coast guard also grounded inter-island ferries, stranding many travelers.
About 112,000 people were ordered to leave their homes in five towns prone to flash floods and landslides in Albay province. More than 50,000 had fled to government-run evacuation centers and relatives' homes by noon Monday, officials said.
"We can't manage typhoons, but we can manage their effects," Albay Governor Joey Salceda said.
Authorities were closely watching farming communities at the base of Mayon volcano in Albay, about 340 kilometers southeast of Manila.
Tons of ash have been deposited on Mayon's slopes by past eruptions, and mudslides caused by a typhoon in 2006 buried entire villages, leaving about 1,600 people dead and missing, officials said.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the storm's eye was located at 260 kilometers (km) east southeast of Casiguran, Aurora. The typhoon is packing maximum winds of 130 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 160 kph.
Pedring is still expected to make landfall over the Isabela-Aurora area on Tuesday morning, bringing with it rains ranging from 15 to 25 millimeters per hour.
It is forecast to move west northwest at 19 kph.
"It will still intensify before hitting land but we don't see any indication for it to reach 185 kph or more, where we are obliged to raise storm signal number 4,” Pagasa Administrator Nathaniel Servando said.
Public storm signal number 2 was raised over Albay, Burias Island, Sorsogon, rest of Quezon, Rizal, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Benguet, Mt. Province, Kalinga, Cagayan and Metro Manila.
Storm signal number 1, meanwhile, is up in Ticao Island, Masbate, Marinduque, Batangas, Cavite, Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Laguna, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, Apayao and Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands.
Based on the agency’s monitoring from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, "Pedring" dumped 26 millimeters per hour of rain in Metro Manila and 48 millimeters per hour in Legaspi City.
The typhoon bore down on the Philippines exactly two years after nearly 500 people died in the worst flooding in decades in Manila. Residents offered prayers and planted trees Monday to remember people who died while saving other residents during the 2009 disaster.
"Pedring" (international codename: Nesat) is the 16th weather disturbance to hit the country this year. About 20 storms and typhoons lash the Southeast Asian nation each year.
It is expected to exit the Philippines into the South China Sea late Wednesday or early Thursday and then head toward southern China.
Typhoon Pedring also prompted the United States (US) embassy in Manila to warn Americans to take precautionary measures.
"Carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. US passport, birth certificate, picture IDs, etc.) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. You should also contact friends and family in the United States with updates about your whereabouts," the embassy said in a statement.
The embassy said it might suspend operations as the capital, where its office is located, is now on signal number 1.
"In the event of a weather-related closure, the embassy will issue a message," it said. (With AP/Sunnex)