Storm warning signal no. 1 hoisted over Eastern Samar
By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines - Public storm warning signal number one was raised over Eastern Samar yesterday as tropical storm “Lawin” (international name Jelawat) continued to intensify while hovering over the Philippine Sea, the state weather bureau said.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) administrator Nathaniel Servando said forecasts by the local weather bureau and foreign meteorological agencies showed that the storm will not make landfall in any part of the country.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Lawin was spotted at 560 kilometers east of Catarman, Northern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.
It was forecast to move west southwest at nine kph in the next 24 to 36 hours.
“There are two scenarios: first, after moving west southwest it will shift to northwest, therefore will not landfall. Second scenario, if it continues to move west southwest it will make landfall over Bicol,” Servando told The STAR.
Servando said the storm was moving west southwest due to its interaction with a high pressure area north of the Philippines.
“Most models, including Japan, show the first scenario,” Servando said.
Servando, however, said moderate to intense rain or about 10 to 20 millimeters per hour are likely to prevail in areas within the 600-km radius of the storm.
Lawin is predicted to be 370 km east of Catarman, Northern Samar this afternoon; 270 km east of Virac, Catanduanes tomorrow afternoon; and 240 km northeast of Virac by Monday afternoon.
PAGASA’s 24-hour weather forecast showed that Samar provinces will experience rains with gusty winds.
The regions of Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon will have cloudy skies with occasional moderate to heavy rains.
Metro Manila, Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Bicol region, the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao will have occasional light to moderate rains and thunderstorms.
On red alert
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Operations Center was placed on red alert yesterday in preparation for Lawin.
NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said the red alert, which places all disaster management personnel on standby, took effect at 8 a.m.
A red alert would ensure that there are enough personnel in the event of an emergency.
Ramos said regional field units have been ordered to undertake precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility.
Local disaster units have been asked to initiate preemptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas, if necessary.
Cagayan residents living in low-lying areas and mountainous slopes have been warned about possible flashfloods and landslides. Disaster units in Bicol have also been alerted.
The Coast Guard in Eastern Visayas has advised fishing boats and other small seacraft not to venture out to the sea, especially in the eastern seaboard of the Visayas. – With Alexis Romero, Jaime Laude