Butchoy clears shoal-A A +A
Sunday, June 17, 2012
MANILA (Updated) -- Philippine ships in the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal were ordered to return to ports as Typhoon Butchoy (international name: Guchol) has strengthened into a dangerous 160-kilometer per hour (kph) howler.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Atmospheric Services Administration (Pagasa) said on Saturday that thick monsoon rainclouds approaching western Luzon including Metro Manila and Mindoro will result into a rainy Fathers Day on Sunday.
Butchoy will enhance the southwest monsoon (habagat) across Visayas and Luzon, particularly the western sections Saturday until Tuesday. Breezy to windy conditions and cloudy skies with occasional to widespread rains, thunderstorms and squalls will be expected.
The seas along the West Philippine and Visayan Sea will become moderate to rough and dangerous.
This weather condition prompted President Benigno Aquino III to order the two remaining Philippine ships in Panatag Shoal to return to ports Friday night.
Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Aquino ordered the ships of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to return to port.
“Last night, President Aquino ordered both our ships to return to port due to increasing bad weather,” said del Rosario.
“When the weather improves, a re-evaluation will be made,” said del Rosario.
For months, the Philippines and China have been in a standoff in the Panatag Shoal and have been sending numerous ships in the area, with both refusing to budge despite several rounds of bilateral talks.
Weather forecaster Samuel Duran said that as of 10 p.m. Butchoy was spotted at 430 km east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes.
Duran said Butchoy maintained its strength as it continues to move in a north northwest direction and was moving at 20 kph with packing winds of 160 kph and gustiness of 195 kph.
He said Butchoy was expected to be out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Pagasa said Butchoy moved north-northwest at 20 kph and brought heavy rainfall, from 15 to 25 mm per hour within its 450-km diameter
Pagasa said moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest to south will prevail over Northern Luzon and coming from the southwest over the rest of the country. The coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be moderate to rough.
Pagasa also reminded fishing boats and other small seacraft not to venture out to the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and Eastern Mindanao due to big waves generated by the southwest monsoon. (HDT/PNA/Sunnex)