MANILA, Philippines --- Disaster management officials on Thursday warned residents in provinces and areas in North Luzon about the possibility of landslides and flashfloods from heavy rains spawned by tropical storm "Dindo."
Undersecretary Benito Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director, also warned those in coastal areas of possible storm surges.
"This weather disturbance is expected to bring more rains that could trigger landslides and flashfloods in affected areas. It could also trigger storm surge in coastal areas," said Ramos.
He said the estimated rainfall is expected to range from 15 to 24 millimeters per hour within the 400 kilometer diameter of the weather disturbance which is categorized as heavy or intense.
Ramos identified the areas expected to be affected by Dindo as Cagayan, Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands, Isabela, Batanes Group of Islands, Apayao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ilocos Norte and Abra which were earlier placed under storm signal No. 2.
Also alerted were residents of La Union, Ilocos Sur, Aurora, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Benguet who are also under storm signal No. 1.
Ramos cited the need to prepare the residents in Northern Luzon due to past incidents of massive landslides, particularly in the Cordillera Administrative Region and nearby mountainous areas.
Yesterday morning, "Dindo" was spotted 260 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan and is continuously moving towards extreme Northern Luzon at 18 kilometer per hour.
Aside from Northern Luzon, Ramos said heavy rains are also expected in Southern Luzon and the Visayas.
Meanwhile, the strong winds and rains brought about by Dindo forced a Philippine Airlines flight en route to Laoag to return to Manila.
PAL flight PR226 departed Manila yesterday at 9:50am. While en route however, heavy rains and strong winds battered the Laoag City airport prompting airport officials to declare it unsafe for flight operations.
Upon being informed of the bad weather that developed in Laoag, the pilot of the PAL flight decided to turn back to Manila instead. Four other domestic flights were cancelled.
As of 1:00 p.m., the airport's Media Affairs Division had listed Cebu Pacific flights 5J504 and 5J505 flying between Manila and Tuguegarao as cancelled. Also cancelled were Air Philippines flights 2P014 and 2P015 bound for Tuguegarao.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard said it has temporarily stopped search and rescue operations for the missing fisherman off the coast in Bolinao, Pangasinan.
Capt. Leopoldo Laroya, district commander of Coast Guard Northwest Luzon Command, said, "We have temporarily stopped the SAR there because of the typhoon. Signals 1 and 2 were raised in Ilocos Norte, and La Union," said Laroya.
PCG has been searching for four fishermen who remain missing after being tossed to the sea when their fishing boat was rammed by a larger vessel in the coastal areas of Bolinao.
Coast Guard rescuers were conducting an expanded search over the waters of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. (With reports from Anjo Perez and Raymund Antonio)