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‘Ompong’ to bring heavy rains, strong winds; public urged to be ready


A WORKER detaches a tarpaulin from a billboard along EDSA in Timog, Quezon City. Authorities are reminding billboard owners to prepare for Typhoon Ompong that is expected to hit Luzon in the coming days. (Mark Balmores)

A WORKER detaches a tarpaulin from a billboard along EDSA in Timog, Quezon City. Authorities are reminding billboard owners to prepare for Typhoon Ompong that is expected to hit Luzon in the coming days. (Mark Balmores)

THE strongest typhoon to hit the country this year will bring strong winds and heavy rains, accord­ing to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.

The typhoon, with an interna­tional name of “Mangkhut,” was spotted yesterday noon at 1,190 kilometers east northeast of Gui­uan, Eastern Samar and moving westward at 20 kph.

PAGASA said the typhoon was expected to enter the country’s area of responsibility yesterday and would be named “Ompong.” It has maximum sustained winds of 205 kph and gustiness of up to 255 kph.

Ompong has a size of 900 ki­lometers in diameter, practically affecting the whole of Luzon, ac­cording to PAGASA.

The State weather bureau ad­vised the public to brace for heavy rains and strong winds in the next few days.

In a press briefing, Department of Science and Technology Un­dersecretary for Disaster Risk Re­duction and Climate Change Dr. Renato Solidum Jr. said Ompong is expected to intensify further once it enters the country’s western boundary.

“Mas lalakas pa ang bagyo, may malakas na hangin na maaaring magdulot ng storm surge; may malakas na ulan na posibleng magdulot ng pag baha o landslide. Ito pong mga hazards na ito ay dapat paghandaan ng ating mga kababayan,” Solidum said.

He added that even if these haz­ards will not occur simultaneously, the public should be vigilant as the typhoon looms. “Ito ay kailangang tutukan natin ng mabuti dahil ito na so far ang pinakamalakas na bagyo na dadaan sa ating bansa ngayong taon. Sikapin po natin na ito ay paghandaang mabuti,” Solidum added.

PAGASA Senior Weather Spe­cialist Chris Perez said in the same media briefing that the typhoon is forecasted to pummel Northern Luzon while moving northwest and may traverse the Cagayan-Batanes area Saturday.

A tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1 may be raised as early as last night or this morning.

Perez added that the typhoon is now enhancing the southwest monsoon or “habagat” which af­fects Palawan, and western sec­tions of Visayas and Mindanao.

He also warned that heavy to intense rains, very strong winds, and storm surges over coastal areas are possible, particularly in Cagayan and Isabela by tomorrow and Northern Luzon by Saturday.

Heavy rains and strong winds are also expected over parts of Central and Southern Luzon, while surrounding seas in the regions will be rough to very rough.

Occasional moderate to heavy rains due to habagat are pos­sible in Palawan, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Pen­insula, Northern Mindanao, Siqui­jor, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Island, and Lanao del Sur.

According to Perez, the ap­proaching typhoon may reach its peak intensity of around 220 kph of maximum sustained winds and gustiness of up to 270 kph.

PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicen­te Malano said there is a possibility that Ompong may reach the super typhoon category. “Maaaring aab­utin na maging super typhoon kasi five kilometers per hour na lang ang diperensya para maclassify as super typhoon,” Malano said.

Based on the bureau’s tropical cyclone classification system, a su­per typhoon has a maximum wind speed exceeding 220 kilometers per hour or more than 120 knots.

However, Malano warned the public that even if Ompong will not reach the super typhoon category, it is strong enough to topple hous­es made of very light materials or makeshift structures in exposed communities.

Electrical posts may fell while vegetations and trees may also be uprooted due to the strong winds and gusts of the typhoon, accord­ing to Malano.

The PAGASA administrator also warned residents of coastal areas on possible storm surge up from five to six meters upon its possible landfall in Cagayan. (Alexandria San Juan)


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THE government has urged the public to stay safe at home and pray as the country braces for the entry of a potential super typhoon.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government has readied funds and relief supplies in preparation for the storm but has also asked the public to stay vigilant.

“Pinapaalalahanan po namin ang publiko na maging alerto at ligtas sa paparating na bagyo,” Roque said. “Sa ating mga kababayan po na wala namang gagawin sa labas ay mangyaring manatili na lamang po sa kani-kanilang mga bahay at huwag gumala para sa inyong kaligtasan. Ipanalangin po natin ang kaligtasan ng lahat,” he added.

The typhoon with the international name “Mangkhut” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility yesterday afternoon and was given the local name “Ompong,” packing maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 255 kph.

As of 4 p.m., Ompong was located based on all available data at 1,145 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes, moving west at 20 kph, prompting PAGASA to raise tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1.

PAGASA expects Ompong to make landfall in the northern tip of Cagayan Saturday and signal No. 1 may be raised in Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur this morning.

This afternoon, Ompong will be 820 kms east of Daet, Camarines Norte and 450 kms northeast of Daet tomorrow afternoon. On Saturday, Ompong will be 70 kms north of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and out of the PAR Sunday afternoon or 610 kms west-northwest of Laoag City.

Based on the latest update of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Roque said the government has readied standby funds, food packs, and other relief assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“As Ispeak, there is an ongoing pre-disaster risk assessment meeting now to ensure the orchestrated response of the government to typhoon Mangkhut,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)