Typhoon 'Pablo' returns today

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Fourteen provinces in Luzon were placed under storm alert yesterday as Typhoon "Pablo" veered back toward the country and was expected to hit land this morning.

The weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geological and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa) estimated that Pablo will make landfall between 8am and 10am in Ilocos Norte Sunday.

"Once it hits land, we expect that there will be less rainfall intensity and that the typhoon will weaken and eventually dissipate," said Jori Loiz, a weather forecaster with Pagasa.

As of 4pm yesterday, Pablo was located at 230 kilometres west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, with winds of 130 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 160 kph.

According to the latest forecast, Pablo was moving east-northeast at 17 kph, although Loiz said the typhoon was expected to accelerate in the coming hours.

Loiz said provinces in northern Luzon should brace for stormy weather as Pablo began to turn around to hit land anew.

Pablo, with centre winds of 160 kph and gusts of up to 190 kph, slammed into the east coast of Mindanao on Tuesday morning, slicing west-northwest across the island as it blew toward Central Visayas and Palawan.

The most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, Pablo left 456 people dead, 533 missing, 455 injured and hundreds of thousands homeless in nine regions of the country.

Pagasa weather forecasting chief Rene Paciente said the name "Pablo" would be deleted from the list of typhoon names because this week's typhoon with that name killed too many people.

Pablo blew into the West Philippine Sea on Friday, but cold winds in the north pushed it back toward northwest Luzon.

Placed under public Storm Signal No. 2 are Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union, which should prepare for a battering from winds of 61 kph to 100 kph.

Areas under Signal No. 1 and will experience winds of 30 kph to 60 kph are Cagayan, Calayan group of islands, Babuyan group of islands, Batanes group of islands, Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Benguet, Pangasinan and Zambales.

Heavy to intense rainfall of 15 millimetres to 25 mm per hour is expected within the 400-km diametre of the typhoon, Pagasa said.

Should Pablo continue on its present track, it will be at 50 kph north of Aparri, Cagayan, this afternoon and 320 km east of Basco, Batanes, by tomorrow afternoon. By Tuesday afternoon, it is forecast to be 550 km northwest of Basco, Batanes.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos warned residents in coastal areas in the Ilocos region that they could experience storm surges as high as 3 metres to 5 metres.

Ramos reminded residents in mountainous regions to be alert for landslides. He said rivers could overflow as Pablo blew over land anew.

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