‘Gener’ moving out as new LPA loomsBy DJ Yap, Inquirer Bureaus
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Typhoon “Gener” is forecast to leave the Philippine territory by Thursday, but expect gloomy weather in Luzon, including Metro Manila, the weather bureau said on Tuesday.
Even as Gener was on its way out, another low pressure area (LPA) may develop east of Northern Luzon within five days, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.
In a briefing, senior forecaster Jori Loiz said Pagasa had detected signs of weakness in Gener following its interactions with other weather systems.
This led to a “looping” effect in which the typhoon almost became stationary before resuming its movement northward, Loiz said.
The looping effect prompted Pagasa to adjust its forecast about Gener’s departure from Tuesday to Thursday.
Even so, the southwest monsoon will continue to bring rains over Luzon and the Visayas, especially its western sections, including Mindoro, Batangas, Zambales, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos, the Cordilleras and Metro Manila, Loiz said.
Tens of thousands battled neck-deep floods on Tuesday as Gener continued to bring heavy rains, with the death toll from the storm rising to eight, officials said.
Heavy downpours battered parts of the country for the third day in a row, forcing the evacuation of more than 145,000 people, said civil defense chief Benito Ramos.
“It will take about four or five days for the waters to recede, assuming the rains stop now. But if it continues to rain, then naturally, these floodwaters will get even higher,” Ramos said.
He warned that the bad weather would last for at least two more days as the floods rose in coastal areas just outside Manila.
Schools in some areas of Metro Manila and in nearby provinces remained suspended on Tuesday, but workers were forced to wade in floods as they struggled to report for work, officials said.
Three more people drowned, another was killed by a falling tree while a fifth was electrocuted while crossing a submerged bridge, adding to the three deaths reported on Monday, Ramos said.
Massive rain band
Gener has slowed down as it moved away, prolonging its effects over the northern portions of the archipelago, he said.
Gener has dumped heavy rains across large parts of the Philippines since Sunday, causing floods and knocking out power lines in more than 2 million households, officials said. Power was restored a day later, but some roads and bridges remained cut off.
Although Gener did not directly hit the Philippines, its massive rain band exacerbated the effects of an LPA in the vicinity.
Initially a tropical storm, Gener strengthened late Monday into a typhoon with sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of 150 kph (93 mph).
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Gener was moving slowly northward but “still poses a threat to extreme northern Luzon,” Pagasa said.
It was spotted 260 km east northeast of Basco, Batanes province, at 4 p.m., packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kph, and gusts of up to 150 kph.
It was moving northward at 7 kph.
Gener was expected to be 360 km northeast of Basco by Wednesday afternoon, and 500 km north of Basco by Thursday afternoon, outside the Philippine area of responsibility, Pagasa said.
Damage in Cordillera
In the Cordillera, Gener dumped heavy rains on Baguio, Benguet and Mt. Province from Monday night to Tuesday, triggering landslides that killed two persons in Itogon, Benguet.
Reports from the Office of Civil Defense in the region said Prisca Pacyaya, 64, was swept away by a landslide in Nugget Hill in Barangay Ampucao in Itogon at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Pacyaya went out of her house to check a leaking roof when she was thrown off and dragged by a landslide. Her body was recovered at 9 a.m.
At 5:30 a.m. also on Tuesday, Clinton Idio, 15, died after his motorcycle hit a rock slide as he drove through Barangay (village) Ucab in Itogon.
La Trinidad Mayor Gregorio Abalos said rescue workers evacuated a family of five from Barangay Upper Kesbeng due to fears of a landslide. The family was taken to the Benguet capitol.
Despite being outside the typhoon’s direct path, Baguio received 242 millimeters of rainfall from 8 a.m. on Monday to 8 a.m. on Tuesday, which indicated a strong, almost unending downpour. The rains were accompanied by strong, howling winds from Monday night to Tuesday dawn.
Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan suspended classes in all levels on Tuesday. Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan issued the same directive for his province.
Burnham Lake overflow
Rains caused floods in sections of Burnham Park on Tuesday dawn due to water overflowing from Burnham Lake. The water receded later in the morning.
Winds toppled a tree on Leonard Wood Road in Baguio City, but the road was cleared and opened to traffic at noon. At least 12 villages in the city experienced power outage on Tuesday.
In Mt. Province, the Chico River also swelled on Monday night.
Kennon, Halsema landslides
The rains triggered landslides, shutting down Kennon Road and a section of the Halsema Highway in Barangay Ambassador in Tublay town.
Landslides also closed the Baguio-Bua-Itogon, Shilan-Beckel, Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun and Pulag-Bagtangan Roads in Benguet, the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mt. Province Road, the Mt. Province-Ilocos Sur Road, and the Mt. Province-Ifugao Road.
Dams open floodgates
The Ambuklao and Binga Dams in Benguet opened their floodgates because the rains increased their reservoirs’ water levels.
In Isabela, local officials said floods spared the province on Tuesday as the weather started to improve.
Saturnino Tenedor, Magat Dam instrumentation chief, said the water level at the Magat reservoir in Ramon town reached l90.54 masl on Tuesday noon, still below its 193 masl spilling level.
Provincial agriculturist Danilo Tumamao said the rains dumped by Gener helped farmers who were able to plant palay in the past three days.
In Central Luzon, one of the 23 crew members of three fishing boats destroyed by strong waves in Mariveles, Bataan, on Monday remained missing on Tuesday, police said.
The search for Angelo Bicoy has been put on hold due to bad weather in the waters off Manila Bay and West Philippine Sea, said Superintendent Joel Tampis, Mariveles police director.
Tampis said Bicoy was among the seven fishermen on FB Joshua. The other boats, FB Lady Jaime and FB John Mark, carried eight fishermen each.
Floodwaters in coastal areas and low-lying villages in parts of Bulacan and Pampanga started receding on Tuesday.
After the floods that forced the evacuation of families, overnight power outages hounded some villages while classes remained suspended in some areas in Batangas and Laguna.
Some 89 people in Barangay Cuta evacuated to a school in Barangay Kumintang Ilaya in Batangas City Tuesday morning while classes were suspended in Balayan, Lemery, Laurel and Malvar towns.
In San Pablo City, at least five houses suffered a power outage Monday evening until dawn of Tuesday after Gener toppled a tree that fell over electrical wires in a mountain barangay.
Laguna Governor ER Ejercito declared a suspension of classes in all levels in the province.
In Masbate province, the Philippine Navy rescued 16 passengers of a motorized boat found floating off San Pascual town at noon Tuesday, said the Naval Forces in Southern Luzon (Navforsol).
Lieutenant Commander Darwin Nieva, Navforsol spokesperson, said MB Cristy was cruising near Animasola Island in San Pascual when it encountered rough waters that broke its bamboo outrigger. All the passengers and crew were rescued. With reports from Philip C. Tubeza in Manila; Frank Cimatu, Vincent Cabreza and Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon; Romulo Ponte, Marrah Erika Lesaba and Mar Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon; and AFP
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