Signal 1 Hoisted Over 9 Provinces

Public storm signal No. 1 was raised over nine provinces after an active low pressure area (ALPA) east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, developed into a tropical depression and was named "Ferdie," the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical, Services Administration (PAGASA) announced last night.

Weathermen said "Ferdie" is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains over the western section of Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Before developing into a tropical depression, the ALPA caused heavy rains in Metro Manila, with the southwest monsoon attracting rain clouds to dump rain in Southern Luzon, forcing the suspension of classes in several schools in these areas.

As of 7 p.m. yesterday, the center of "Ferdie," which packs maximum winds of 55 kph near the center, was estimated at 125 kilometers east of Aparri also in Cagayan. It was moving west northwest at 13 kph.

Weathermen said that "Ferdie" was expected to be at 140 km north northwest of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, this afternoon, and at 380 km west northwest of Laoag by Sunday afternoon. It is expected to be 660 km west northwest of Laoag by Monday afternoon.

Public storm signal No. 1 was raised over Isabela, Cagayan (including Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands), Batanes, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Mountain Province.

PAGASA warned residents living on low-lying and mountainous areas under storm signal to be on alert against possible flashfloods. It also said that sea travel of small seacraft and fishing boats in the seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon is risky.

Widespread rains are expected in Northern Luzon and in the eastern section of Central and Southern Luzon.

The heavy rains prompted the cancellation of 17 domestic flights.

According to the Manila International Airport Authority, the inclement weather has marooned domestic flights bound to Caticlan, Aklan; Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; Busuanga, Palawan; and Cauayan, Isabela; and nine flights from these provinces back to Manila.

Airport officials said local carriers Cebu Pacific cancelled 13 flights while Air Philippines and Zest Air had two cancelled flights, respectively.

These were the domestic flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)Terminal 3.

The MIAA justified the cancellation of the flights for the safety of the passengers.

Most of the affected flights were from and to Manila and Caticlan, Aklan, which were experiencing heavy rains on Friday.

The affected flights for Cebu Pacific were those bound from Caticlan to Manila such as 5J 892, 5J 898, 5J 901 and 5J 896, and from Manila to Caticlan flights 5J 895, 5J 897, and 5J 901.

Included were Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 197 (Cauayan-Manila), 5J 196 (Manila-Cauayan), 5J 505 (Tuguegarao-Manila) and 5J 504 (Manila-Tuguegarao), among others.

Cancelled flights for Zest Air were Z2 410 and Z2 411 while for Airphil were 2P 014 (Manila-Tuguegarao) and 2P 015 (Tuguegarao-Manila).

Airport officials said other flights went ahead as scheduled. They advised passengers to wait for further developments.

Meanwhile, PAGASA hydrologist Gene Nievares said there is no threat of any spillover from the dams - all reported still with waters below the normal notch - despite the continuing rains.

But they will continue to monitor the water levels of La Mesa Dam in Quezon City, Ipo Dam in Bulacan and San Roque Dam in Pangasinan - areas affected by the pre-weekend rains. (Marvyn N. Benaning, Raymund F. Antonio, and PNA)

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