Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ may hit Visayas Friday
Manila, Philippines – The tracking forecasts for an approaching tropical storm that is picking up steam over the Pacific Ocean, or east of the Philippines, showed it will be making landfall over the Visayas region this Friday, the government weather bureau warned.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Weather Forecasting Section Chief Rene Paciente said the tropical storm with international name “Haiyan” is projected to make landfall over Samar or Leyte provinces by Friday afternoon. It may develop into a supertyphoon.
As of mid-Tuesday, the storm was estimated at 2,170 kilometers east of Mindanao.
As this developed, police forces in Bicol region were placed yesterday in highest security alert status to maximize the response mechanism for the possible onslaught of a weather disturbance.
Moving Westward At 25 Kph
The Pacific Ocean-hovering storm was moving westward at 25 kilometers per hour (kph) yesterday, Tuesday, morning. It has maximum sustained winds of 95 kph and gustiness of up to 120 kph.
Paciente said “Haiyan” may intensify into a typhoon even before entering the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Thursday morning. Should it enter the country’s vicinity, the weather disturbance will be locally called “Yolanda,” the 24th tropical cyclone this year. It will be the second to enter PAR this month.
Based on the United States-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), “Haiyan” could reach peak wind intensity of 130 knots or 241 kph, under a supertyphoon category, within 48 hours.
Paciente noted that “Haiyan” will traverse the Visayas region toward Mindoro province then to the West Philippine Sea.
Cloudy Skies, Rain Showers
PAGASA said cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms is expected over Samar, Leyte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur as the storm approaches the eastern sections of Visayas and Mindanao on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
By Friday, there is a chance that Eastern Visayas will experience stormy weather with rough to very rough seas as “Haiyan” moves closer towards Samar and Leyte provinces.
Likewise, Bicol Region will have rains with gusty wind by late afternoon. Cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains is expected over Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, and the rest of Visayas.
Possible Signal No. 1 in M. Manila
According to PAGASA weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar, it is possible that storm warning Signal No. 1 will be raised over Metro Manila, but it would be the highest possible warning that will be hoisted over the metropolis because it is already far from the center of the weather disturbance.
Metro Manila, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental will continue to experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms this Friday.
The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated afternoon or evening rain showers or thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, tropical depression “Wilma,” which weakened into a low pressure area (LPA) was at 160 kilometers northeast of Puerto Princesa City at around 8 a.m. Tuesday. It is moving toward the West Philippine Sea.
Full Alert in Bicol
In Bicol, Chief Supt. Victor Deona, director of the Bicol regional police, revealed that the full alert status hoisted in the entire region is part of the preparations for Tropical Storm Haiyan, with some provinces in the region right on its path when it enters the country and subsequently make a landfall.
“I have already placed all our police units here in the region under full alert starting Tuesday. We want to make sure that every policeman is present, ready to be deployed in any area if worse comes to worst,” said Deona in a phone interview.
The official said the regional police leadership has been included in early preparations of the Regions Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) headed by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda since Monday.
Yesterday, Deona said all the relief and response plans have already been mapped out and finalized for implementation of all concerned government units, especially the police which is among the first responders.
The official said they have already started deploying and placing on standby their equipment and personnel in anticipation for the need for disaster response such as forced evacuation, relief and rescue missions.
He said all the needed personnel have already been advised to be ready for deployment in any part of the region.
“We cannot initiate prepositioning of our personnel and assets, we will follow orders from the local disaster risk reduction and management council heads as to where our assets and personnel would go,” said Deona.