Gate of state weather agency PAGASA flags observance of Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week. PNA FILE PHOTO
MANILA – Moderate to heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Odette continued to batter Dagupan city and Pangasinan province, where the weather bureau retained tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1 on Saturday as Odette remained almost stationary despite being forecast to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility later on Saturday (Oct. 14).
Dagupan Mayor Belen T. Fernandez ordered the CDRRMC to strictly monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate residents whose lives might be put at risk because of the storm.
A number of villages, especially those located near rivers, were placed briefly under water when tidal waters rose by 1.4 meter at 4:21 a.m. Saturday.
According to the Office of Civil Defense director for Region IV-B Eugene Cabrera, the Mindoro provinces and Palawan, especially its Cagayancillo town, experinced strong rains.
Cabrera said in a radio interview some flooding was reported in Occ. Mindoro, especially in Sta. Cruz and Sablayan towns; as well as in Calapan in Oriental Mindoro.
Cabrera confirmed that the level at a spillway in Occ. Mindoro had overtopped, prompting warnings for small vehicles not to use nearby roads, which remained passable to trucks, though. He said the local disaster and risk reduction and management offices (DRRMOs) are closely monitoring the situation, with instructions to order the evacuation of people as needed.
He said the provincial RRMO was also watching flood-prone areas in Mindoro provinces but no landslides were reported so far.
Meanwhile, port operations continued, though small seacraft have been issued gale warnings.
According to Cabrera, the main concern is prepositioning of emergency crew and relief, since the region has many island barangays, so that response agencies need to be able to quickly come in and help once SOS is sent.
In Dagupan City, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has been on standby since 10 a.m. Saturday, reading a rescue boat, dump trucks and equipment in case evacuation of affected residents is necessary.
Despite the rains, market vendors continued to peddle their wares at the Malimgas Public Market and other public and private markets in the city.
Meanwhile, the CDRRMC advised owners of fishing boats and small crafts not to venture yet into the Lingayen Gulf as strong to gale force winds prevail due to “Odette”.
The advisory, issued at 10 a.m. Saturday, stated that the sea is still rough to very rough with waves as high as 3.4 meters to 4.5 meters, which would be very dangerous for fishing boats and small crafts.
Odette stationary, but seen exiting PAR
As of 1 pm, PAGASA weather forecaster Jun Galang said Odette remained almost stationary west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, but was slowly moving northwest. Nonetheless, it was expected to leave PAR within the day, Galang said in a radio interview, but conceded they cannot give an exact estimate of the exit time because sometimes it becomes almost stationary and sometimes it suddenly picks up speed.
Galang also warned that even after Odette has exited, or when it does, “its outer spiral can still affect huge parts” of Luzon – Metro Manila, Central and Southern Luzon – as well as Palawan.