By ELLALYN V. RUIZ
Severe tropical storm “Siony” (international name “Atsani”) will bring strong winds and heavy rains which could snap power poles, uproot trees, blow off roofs, as well as trigger flooding or landslides along the path of the storm, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration warned.
PAGASA said Siony continues to move towards the Luzon Strait and will likely make landfall or closely approach Batanes or Babuyan Islands by Friday morning.
Siony’s location was estimated at 475 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes around 10 a.m. Thursday.
Weather specialist Chris Perez said PAGASA is expecting that areas which could be directly affected by the severe tropical storm have prepared for the arrival of Siony and its severe impacts.
Signal No. 2 has been raised over Batanes and Babuyan Islands as Siony moves closer to these localities.
Signal No. 1 was hoisted over the northern portion of mainland Cagayan (Sta. Ana, Gonzaga, Lal-Lo, Allacapan, Sta. Teresita, Buguey, Camalaniugan, Aparri, Ballesteros, Abulug, Pamplona, Sanchez-Mira, Claveria, and Sta. Praxedes), northern portion of Apayao (Sta. Marcela, Luna, and Calanasan), and northern portion of Ilocos Norte (Adams, Pagudpud, Bangui, Dumalneg, Burgos, Vintar, Pasuquin, and Bacarra).
Perez said residents in areas under Signal No. 2 have a lead time of 24 hours, and 36-hour lead time for those under Signal No. 1, to prepare for the effects of the approaching severe tropical storm.
PAGASA is also not ruling out a possible intensification of Siony into a typhoon with peak intensity of 120 kilometers per hour prior or during its approach to Batanes and Babuyan Islands.
Signal No. 3 will likely be hoisted during the passage of the tropical cyclone.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Siony maintained maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 115 kph.
Perez said strong breeze to near gale conditions due to the prevailing northeasterlies, or the cold winds coming from the north, may prevail over Batanes, Babuyan Islands, northern portion of Ilocos Norte, and northern and eastern coastal areas of mainland Cagayan as early as Thursday night.
In the next 24 hours, he said, the trough or extension of Siony will bring scattered light to moderate with at times heavy rain showers over Metro Manila, Pangasinan, most of Central Luzon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Batanes and Babuyan Islands may start to experience moderate to heavy rains early Friday morning.
PAGASA asked the public to stay vigilant against possible flooding, including flash floods, and rain-induced landslides during heavy or prolonged rainfall, especially in areas that are highly susceptible to these hazards.
After leaving the Philippine Area of Responsibility Friday afternoon or night, PAGASA said Siony may turn southwestward by Saturday morning and accelerate over the West Philippine Sea towards the general direction of central or southern Vietnam.
Siony will also likely to gradually weaken due to increasingly unfavorable conditions over the West Philippine Sea associated with the surge of northeasterly wind flow.
Perez said PAGASA is also monitoring a new low-pressure area at 1,920 kms east of Visayas, which is still outside the PAR as of noon Thursday.
Although it is less likely to become a tropical depression in the next 24 hours, Perez said the LPA may enter the PAR on Friday or Saturday and bring significant impact on the country’s weather condition in the coming days.
Southern Luzon, Visayas, and some areas in Mindanao, including Metro Manila, may be affected by this weather disturbance, he said.
He advised the public to continue to monitor developments regarding this LPA.