Brace for super typhoon Yolanda – PAGASA
By Helen Flores | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The state weather bureau advised yesterday the public to brace for storm Haiyan that could intensify into a super typhoon before making landfall over the Visayas region on Friday.
Haiyan, which will be given the local name Yolanda, was forecast to enter the Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow morning.
Rene Paciente, weather forecasting section chief of the Philippine, Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Haiyan was projected to make landfall over the Leyte-Samar area on Friday afternoon.
As of 11 a.m. yesterday, Haiyan was spotted at 2,170 kilometers east of Mindanao with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 120 kph.
Updated story: Haiyan now a typhoon, to reach Phl Thursday
“This weather disturbance is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday morning. It will not affect any part of the country within the next 36 hours,” PAGASA said.
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Haiyan was moving westward at 25 kph as of yesterday noon.
The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said Haiyan is likely to reach super typhoon category before making landfall over central Philippines.
PAGASA, however, is not officially using the term “super typhoon.” It is a category used by the JTWC to describe a typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph.
“Due to very favorable environmental condition, rapid intensification is forecast over the next 48 hours with a peak intensity of 130 knots (241 kilometers per hour),” the JTWC said in its latest forecast.
The JTWC said Haiyan will weaken as it crosses the Philippines but will regain strength over the West Philippine Sea.
PAGASA weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar said heavy rains and strong winds would be felt in the Visayas before noon Friday.
Escullar said residents of southern Luzon, including Metro Manila, are advised to prepare for rains and occasionally strong winds.
Escullar said storm warning signal no. 1 might be raised over Metro Manila as Haiyan passes Mindoro province.
Metro under alert
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) placed nine regions in the country under blue alert to prepare for the typhoon.
NDRRMC spokesman Maj. Rey Balido said the regions which are likely to be affected by the powerful storm and are now under blue alert are Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Central, Eastern and Western Visayas, Bicol region, Southern Tagalog region, and Metro Manila.
“This tropical depression is expected to develop into a super typhoon,” Balido said.
He added the NDRRMC has placed Bohol under red alert since most of the residents in the province are still suffering from the effects of the massive earthquake last month.
The provincial government of Bohol ordered the evacuation of villagers in areas that have been identified as danger zones following the massive earthquake that struck the province last month.
“The provincial government is rushing the distribution of additional tents and other relief goods for those who are still staying in open spaces in makeshift tents,” said Tootsie Escobia, spokesman of the Bohol provincial government.
“All municipal mayors are under orders to conduct preemptive evacuation of residents still staying near river banks and mountain slopes as the rains could trigger landslides and flooding,” he said.
This move, Escobia said, is in line with the disaster preparation of the province as it braces for the possible effects of the typhoon headed toward the Visayas.
Since Monday, heavy rains spawned by Tropical Storm Wilma have hit the province, flooding several evacuation centers. This prevailing weather system is further aggravated by Haiyan which is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility today.
“It has been raining here since yesterday,” Escobia said, adding that the provincial government is doing all it can to at least mitigate the impact of the prevailing weather system on thousands of families displaced by the 7.2 magnitude quake. – Jaime Laude, Cet Dematera, Gerry Lee-Gorit, Raymund Catindig. Read More Story