As TROPICAL Depression "Kabayan" advances eastward over the southern waters of the country, a heightened state of alert envelops Cebu, especially as the Camotes Islands are now under Signal No. 1.
Joseph Merlas, weather specialist of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Mactan, strongly advised residents to take preemptive measures, especially those residing in Camotes.
"We need to monitor the strong likelihood of heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours, especially tomorrow. It's risky for susceptible areas; it's better to prepare," he said.
In an interview with SunStar Cebu on Sunday afternoon, December 17, 2023, he said the warning signal is expected to extend to other portions of Cebu in the succeeding hours.
Based on the tropical cyclone bulletin issued by Pagasa at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Warning Signal No. 1 has been raised in Visayas. Apart from the Camotes Islands in Cebu, these areas include the southern portion of Samar, the southern part of Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte and Bohol.
He added that warning signals might also be raised in portions of Central Visayas, including Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
Simultaneously, in Mindanao, the warning signal extends its reach to Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, the northern portion of Davao Oriental, the northern part of Davao de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, and the northern portion of Bukidnon.
The weather specialist advised residents in these identified areas to exercise caution, as strong winds with minimal to minor impacts are expected.
Merlas said that they forecast rainfall in these regions, with warnings particularly for areas prone to flooding and rain-induced landslides, especially in elevated or mountainous terrain.
The weather bureau also emphasized the potential for flooding and landslides. A shear line is expected to bring heavy rainfall over the eastern portion of southern Luzon on Sunday and the eastern portion of Luzon on Monday, December 18.
Merlas said they are closely monitoring the situation and have not ruled out the possibility of Kabayan intensifying to Tropical Storm status at the moment.
He urged the public to stay informed through official channels, adhere to safety guidelines, and prioritize preparedness as Tropical Depression Kabayan unfolds its course, impacting communities across Visayas and Mindanao. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)