A storm in the Pacific Ocean intensified into a typhoon and will likely enter eastern Mindanao by early tomorrow morning, the state weather bureau Pagasa said yesterday.
As of yesterday morning the typhoon, internationally named “Bopha,” was over the Caroline Islands north of Papua New Guinea located 1,690 kilometers east of Mindanao.
Pagasa warned that even if Bopha, to be called “Pablo” once it enters the country’s area of responsibility, still has to make its presence felt. Weathermen said it could develop into a tropical super storm that is much stronger than last year’s “Sendong.”
In terms of rainfall and wind strength, “Pablo” has the potential to be more destructive than “Sendong” which ravaged the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, Pagasa administrator Nathaniel Servando said. It is also eerily moving in the same direction
“Unless it changes direction, this storm appears headed for the same areas in Northern Mindanao that Sendong hit. Considering that it’s still far from the country, it can still grow much stronger,” he added.
It was packing sustained winds of 165 kilometers per hour near the center and gusting up to 200 kph, Pagasa said in its advisory. The typhoon was moving west at 20 kph.
“Typhoon Bopha is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility early morning of Monday east of Mindanao,” Pagasa said.
Sendong, a tropical storm, had sustained winds of only 100 kph but caused floods and landslides that killed more than 1,000 across Northern Mindanao and destroyed P1.3 billion in agriculture and property last Dec. 16 and 17.
Still, the weather bureau said the storm was still too far to affect any part of the country “within the next two days.”
Despite this, Pagasa advised local government officials to be on the alert.
Pagasa Mactan weather analyst Ella Comahig said “Pablo” is gaining strength since it is still over the Pacific Ocean gaining more water. “So it’s possible that it would be strong once it arrives in the country,” she said.
Comahig said the typhoon is possibly stronger than typhoon Ruping, bringing more rain. If the direction doesn’t change until it enters the vicinity of the country, it could possibly hit a part of Cebu, the weather analyst said.
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.
Elsewhere, winds will be light to moderate coming from the northeast with slight to moderate seas, the weather agency said.
Pagasa advised residents in coastal communities, flood and landslide-prone areas to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said she already alerted the barangay disaster teams to monitor their respective areas.
The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) said they’ve prepared for this eventuality. Inquirer with Correspondents Fe Marie Dumaboc and Tweeny M. Malinao