Storm 'Pablo' could become supertyphoon

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Weather forecasters fear an approaching storm, which is expected to enter Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow morning, would turn into a supertyphoon even stronger than the destructive "Sendong" that hit the same threatened area of the country last year.

"In terms of rainfall and wind strength, Typhoon "Bopha" (to be renamed "Pablo" when it enters the country's area of responsibility) has the potential to be stronger than Sendong," said Nathaniel Servando, head of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). He was referring to the storm that killed hundreds of residents of Cagayan de Oro and Iligian cities in December 2011.

"This new storm [Pablo] can be very destructive," Servando said by phone, adding that it was moving in the same direction as Sendong.

Disaster response authorities have ordered local disaster units to prepare to evacuate residents living by rivers and in low-lying areas in Eastern Visayas and eastern Mindanao that may bear the brunt of the storm.

The storm was monitored at 730 kilometres east of southern Philippines yesterday morning, moving west at 20 kilometres per hour.

Already it was packing maximum sustained winds of 165 kph. "Considering that it's still far from the Philippine area of responsibility, it can still grow much stronger," Servando said.

"Unless it changes direction, this storm appears headed for the same areas in northern Mindanao that Sendong hit," he added.

"By the time it arrives, it may have become as strong as that," he said when asked if the typhoon could reach wind strength of 210 kph, which US meteorologists classify as a "superstorm".

As of yesterday, Bopha had a diameter of 400-500 kilometres. Sendong spanned about 600 kilometres, Servando said.

Servando said disaster officials were right to make early preparations for the storm, which is expected to make landfall either in the northeastern parts of Mindanao or northern Samar on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.

He said Pablo could bring the same devastation as Sendong, including landslides and flash floods that buried thousands of homes across northern Mindanao on December 16 and 17, 2011.

Sendong left more than 1,200 people dead and destroyed 1.3 billion peso (US$100 million) in agriculture and property.

Residents were largely unprepared as typhoons rarely hit Mindanao unlike Luzon and the Visayas.

Asked what the chances were the storm would veer from its projected path, Servando said: "Almost all our models show it moving in a west northwest direction. But there have been occasions in the past when a storm suddenly changed direction."

The weather bureau said the storm was still too far away to affect any part of the country "within the next two days". Even so, Pagasa advised disaster managers to be on the alert.

In its weather outlook for yesterday, Pagasa said the Bicol region, Eastern Visayas and Mindanao will have partly cloudy skies with isolated brief rain showers or thunderstorms. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will experience fair weather, it said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council has put local disaster response teams on alert.

Council's Executive Director Benito Ramos said yesterday he had requested that even cockpit arenas not be used starting next week so they could serve as emergency evacuation centres aside from gymnasiums, schools and churches.

"Wag muna magsabong [Postpone the cockfights]," Ramos said.

"This is a strong [storm]. I hope it melts so that we would have a nice Christmas. But the problem is this is a strong one, that's why we have been preparing for it since [Friday]," Ramos said in Filipino.

Ramos said Sendong killed thousands because it entered at night and caught local residents off guard.

To ensure that such a tragedy would not be repeated, Ramos said the local disaster risk reduction management councils of affected regions in the Visayas and Mindanao have met to prepare evacuation and relief plans.

"Our local responders are ready," Ramos said.

With a report from Nikko Dizon

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Phl now biggest grower of GM crops
    Phl now biggest grower of GM crops

    The Philippines is now the twelfth biggest grower of genetically modified (GM) crops. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options