Friday, December 5, 2014
Super Typhoon Hagupit May Lash Super Typhoon Yolanda Hit Areas
A typhoon with international name “Hagupit” is forecast to enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) today and is likely to make landfall in “Yolanda”-stricken areas in Eastern and Central Visayas by Saturday.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Deputy Administrator Dr. Landrico Dalida Jr. said there is a 75 percent possibility of a landfall over Eastern Samar by Saturday afternoon or evening.
Once “Hagupit” enters PAR, it will be named “Ruby.”
With the prospects of another typhoon, officials of Tacloban City, which bore the brunt of “Yolanda,” were faced with how to keep residents still living in tents after the 2013 disaster safe as the new, powerful cyclone threatens to bring giant waves ashore.
Residents of Tacloban were clearing out grocery shelves in an effort to stock up on emergency provisions ahead of the storm.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the cyclone was 1,278 kilometers (km) east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, or 1,367 east-southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said “Hagupit” further intensified into a typhoon Wednesday afternoon, packing maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 195 kph.
It can still reach maximum sustained winds of up to 175 kph-185 kph while still at sea, he added.
Aurelio noted that the typhoon could generate storm surges of up to four meters or 13 feet and will bring moderate to intense rains, especially along the cyclone track.
“Of course they are deadly. These would be at least one-story tall,” Aurelio said.
He also warned of possible flash floods in low-lying areas and landslides in mountainous areas once the typhoon approaches the country. Likewise, coastal waters along the eastern seaboard of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will be rough to very rough and dangerous to all sea crafts, he added.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the typhoon has maintained its track, approaching the country and moving west-northwest at 30 kph.
“There is a scenario where the typhoon would move slower. Then it will either continuously move west or shift direction northward,” PAGASA forecaster Samuel Duran said.
He said a high pressure system above the typhoon is preventing “Hagupit” from moving north.
He also explained that “Hagupit” may not be as strong as super-typhoon “Yolanda” (international name “Haiyan”) before its expected landfall but could still bring destruction to areas along the cyclone track.
“There is a possibility that it will reach the super typhoon category but as of the moment that possibility is very low,” Duran explained.
On November 8, 2013, “Yolanda” – the most powerful storm ever to make landfall – pounded Guiuan, Eastern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 235 kph and gustiness of up to 275 kph.
PAGASA said Eastern Visayas will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms, while Cagayan Valley will have cloudy skies with light rains.
The Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, and Central Luzon will experience partly cloudy to at times cloudy skies with isolated light rains, while Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
PAGASA weather forecaster Alexander Namoco said Eastern Visayas will start to experience rains and winds due to the typhoon by Saturday morning.
Yesterday, government officials met to discuss preparations for typhoon “Hagupit,” while the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the military went on red alert, and 44 provinces that state meteorologists said may possibly be affected by the typhoon once it will hit land stepped up their preparations.
NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama directed his staff to work with officials in the areas that may be affected to determine the best course of action, including preemptive or even forced evacuations.
Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday said Tacloban City is ready for “Hagupit,” saying city officials have readied a disaster reduction plan which is currently being implemented as part of the preparations for the predicted entry of the typhoon.
“We are going to be the best prepared. Some schools have already called off classes and we are right now in the process of evacuating those who are in danger zones,” said Romualdez.
“Hagupit may not be as strong as Haiyan but nevertheless destructive,” Romualdez added.
The local government of Tacloban City headed by his cousin, Mayor Alfred Romualdez, has started to closely coordinate with national agencies to help prepare the city for the next typhoon.
Tacloban City Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin said about 500 families were still living in tents more than a year after waves up to seven meters (23 feet) tall driven ashore by “Yolanda” destroyed their homes.
They and some 3,000 other families housed in temporary shelters are the priority in case the city government orders a mandatory evacuation, he said.
“We tell our people, ‘Do not panic but take precautionary measures,’” Yaokasin told AFP.
“Yolanda” claimed more than 7,350 lives as it swept in off the Pacific.
Many of the dead were from Tacloban, the regional capital of more than 220,000 people on Leyte island, an impoverished, largely agricultural region.
Tacloban resident Ailyn Metran told AFP staff at her state health insurance company office that they have been told to pack away computers and documents ahead of “Hagupit.”
“I can’t concentrate at work because I keep checking the (disaster alert) websites,” Metran said.
Director General Alan Purisima, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has ordered police commanders in Eastern Visayas to go all out in helping the local government units in preparing for another threat of devastation.
Part of the preparations, according to Purisima, is to make available all the personnel and equipment of the PNP for the disaster response, particularly vehicles that may be used in preemptive evacuation.
Chief Supt. Henry Losanes, director of the Eastern Visayas regional police, said the PNP will be using the lessons learned during the “Yolanda” devastation in ensuring the safety of the public should the new weather disturbance hits the region.
“Our focus is security and evacuation,” Losanes told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
Part of the security preparations, according to Losanes, is to secure all the vital installations amid the incident of massive looting that occurred after the Yolanda devastation last year.
It was recalled that local residents ransacked homes, a mall, grocery stores, and other establishments following the onslaught of “Yolanda.”
“We don’t want those incidents to happen again. That is why I have already created several teams, some of them will be in charge in securing vital installations and the commercial district,” said Losanes.
Even the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has placed its personnel in areas that may be hit by “Hagupit” on heightened alert.
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