| New typhoon enters RP
| Wednesday, September 30, 2009
|MANILA, Philippines - The typhoon east of Northern Mindanao entered the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday and state meteorologists warned it could intensify as it moves closer to the country.
Nathaniel Cruz, deputy administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said typhoon “Pepeng” (international name Parma) could still intensify into a super typhoon as powerful as “Reming” in 2006.
Reming left hundreds of people dead in the Bicol region because of mudslide and flashflood.
However, Cruz said the disturbance was still too far to affect any part of the country within the next 24 to 36 hours based on their latest forecast.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, Pepeng was spotted 940 kilometers east of Surigao City with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.
Pepeng is forecast to move west northwest at 22 kph.
Pagasa has yet to raise a public storm signal warning.
Pepeng is the 16th tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and the fifth weather disturbance in September.
The new weather disturbance arrived as Filipinos were still recovering from the wrath of tropical storm “Ondoy” which battered several areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila, last Saturday.
Cruz said residents in Mindanao are likely to experience rains due to the southwest monsoon starting today or tomorrow.
Bicol and eastern Visayas, on the other hand, would experience moderate rains and gusty winds associated with Pepeng on Friday.
By Saturday, light to moderate rains would prevail over Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.
Cruz said there is a slim possibility that the typhoon would not cross the country.
He said if it changes its current path, the typhoon would likely move toward the southern islands of Japan.
But if it moves closer to the country, it would likely pass near Northern Luzon, including Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos Region.
Cruz stressed that even if the typhoon would not directly hit Metro Manila, it would still bring rains over the metropolis.
Cruz urged the public to listen to the radio and monitor the latest weather updates from Pagasa.
Pepeng is predicted to be 630 kms east northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar this afternoon; 430 kms northeast of Borongan tomorrow afternoon; and 290 kms north northeast of Virac, Catanduanes or 330 kms east of Casiguran, Aurora by Saturday afternoon.
Malacañang aired yesterday an urgent appeal to the public and the private sector to help in preparing themselves and protecting areas that may be hit by Pepeng, saying the authorities may be overwhelmed if the new weather disturbance would be destructive.
Deputy presidential spokesman and Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator Anthony Golez said everyone is hoping and praying that Pepeng would not make landfall or would not be as destructive as Ondoy.
He said while authorities have built-in contingency plans, agencies did not expect Ondoy to be that destructive, which was why “the systems were overworked, the people were spread too thinly trying to rescue and trying to save many people.”
Government scientists have allayed fears of a tsunami after a magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck off American Samoa before dawn yesterday.
Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said the agency issued tsunami Alert Level 1 at 4:30 a.m. yesterday but lifted it hours later after receiving reports from the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center that there were no signs of tsunami in the country.
According to reports, the quake hit Samoa’s capital Apia at about 1:48 a.m. Wednesday.
Reports said the quake triggered a tsunami that hit islands near Samoa, with the highest measuring 1.57 to 1.6 meters, killing an unknown number of people.
“We initially issued an Alert Level 1 warning, which calls for vigilance for possible additional warnings. But we have since cancelled that. The entire Pacific Ocean has no more tsunami warning,” Solidum said in an interview.
He said Phivolcs issued tsunami Alert Level 1 at 4:30 a.m. and cancelled it at 6:40 a.m.
“The Pacific Tsunami Warning System issued an expanding tsunami warning. It was later confirmed that tsunami affected Samoa but will not affect other countries, hence warning was cancelled,” Solidum told The STAR.
Meanwhile, anger and hunger among survivors over the weekend continued to build, with the government appealing for calm after people blocked food convoys, apparently because they were missing out on the relief.
“We are receiving reports that some relief goods, especially those from private donors, are being blocked by people or are being pelted,” Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said on national radio.
While appealing for calm, he warned that anyone caught blocking food convoys would be arrested.
In its latest update on Wednesday morning, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said 2.25 million people had been affected by the floods, up about 300,000 from the previous day.
Of the total affected, 389,616 people were crammed into 561 evacuation camps around Manila and its eastern regions.
Another 346,581 people were staying with relatives or friends, the council said.
The death toll remained the same as Tuesday at 246, but 42 people remain officially missing and there may be others who have not yet been reported to authorities. -With Paolo Romero
|posted by Moderator Londen time 10:34 PM