Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ramil intensifies into typhoon, early evacuation urged

10/17/2009 | 09:15 AM

After entering Philippine territory, tropical cyclone "Ramil" (international code name “Lupit") intensified into a typhoon, but may not directly affect the country until Sunday.

But this early, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) warned residents in Northern and Central Luzon to voluntarily evacuate early.

“Yun na nga, uulit-ulitin na naman namin (sasabihan) ang naninirahan
sa paanan ng bundok, mag-evacuate [nang maaga] (We have to repeat our
advise to those living near mountain slopes to evacuate early)," Pagasa head Prisco Nilo said in an interview on dzRH radio.
'Ramil' Watch
At 2:00 a.m. Saturday, typhoon "Ramil" was located based on satellite and surface data at 850 kms East of Virac, Catanduanes (14.6°N 133.2°E) with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph. It is moving West Northwest at 20 kph.

“Imposibleng gawin ng pamahalaan na isa-isahin ang paglilikas. Ang kababayan doon sa areas na delikado sila mismo lumikas para maiwasan ang pagkaroon ng pagkasawi sa buhay (It will be impossible for government to individually evacuate people in so short a time. If you live near a high-risk area, please evacuate to prevent loss of life)," he added.

He said it is still too early to say where “Ramil" will head, saying it may be northern Luzon or Central Luzon. A third possibility is that the typhoon will head towards Taiwan.

Either way, he said “Ramil" will bring much rain to the areas it will pass. If it passes central Luzon, it may bring rains to Metro Manila, he added.

“Ang areas na dadaanan ng bagyo dadanas ng malakas na ulan. Kung tatama sa Central Luzon, aabutin tayo sa Metro Manila ng malakas na ulan (Areas where ‘Ramil’ will pass will experience heavy rains. So if it goes to Central Luzon, Metro Manila can expect much rain)," he

For its part, the Philippine Coast Guard said it is on alert in the areas expected to be affected.

Coast Guard commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said going on alert is “automatic" for them, especially in the wake of recent killer tropical cyclones “Ondoy" (Ketsana) and “Pepeng" (Parma).

“Kahit LPA pa lang naghahanda ang ating tauhan sa Coast Guard (Even when it was still a low-pressure area we are already preparing)," Tamayo said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said the Coast Guard will be on heightened alert in areas under Signal No. 1, and full alert in areas under Signal No. 2.

As of 2 a.m. Saturday, Pagasa said “Ramil" was estimated at 850 kms east of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph and is moving west-northwest at 20 kph.

In its 5 a.m. bulletin Saturday, Pagasa said “Ramil" continues to move towards northern and central Luzon.

“Bicol Region and the Eastern sections of Visayas and Mindanao will experience mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms. The rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms," it said.

But in its 11 p.m. advisory Friday that “Ramil" is not due to directly affect any part of the country “within the next 36 hours."

Pagasa’s 11 p.m. advisory forecast it to be 580 kms east-northeast of Virac, Catanduanes Saturday evening, and 420 kms northeast of Virac, Catanduanes Sunday evening.

By Monday evening it forecast “Ramil" to be 380 kms east of Casiguran, Aurora.

Meanwhile, Pagasa said light to moderate winds blowing from the southwest and southeast will prevail over Luzon and coming from the southwest and west over the rest of the country.

Coastal waters throughout the archipelago will be slight to moderate except during thunderstorms.

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