MANILA—Fourteen provinces in Luzon were placed under storm alert yesterday as Typhoon Pablo veered back toward the country and its eye was expected to hit land this morning.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geological and Astronomical Services Administration estimated that Pablo will make landfall between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. in Ilocos Norte today.
“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 4 p.m. yesterday, Pablo was located at 230 kilometers west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, with winds of 130 kph 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 themselves for stormy weather as Pablo began to turn around to hit land anew.
Pablo, then with center 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.
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 were 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, which 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 mm to 25 mm per hour is expected within 200 kimometers of the typhoon’s center, Pagasa said.
Should Pablo continue on its present track, it will be at 50 km north of Aparri, Cagayan, Sunday afternoon and 320 km east of Basco, Batanes, by Monday afternoon. By Tuesday afternoon, it is forecast to be 550 km northwest of Basco, Batanes.
Civil defense chief Benito Ramos warned residents in coastal areas in the Ilocos Region that they could experience storm surges as high as 3 meters to 5 meters.
Ramos reminded residents in mountainous regions to be alert for landslides. He said rivers could overflow as Pablo blew over land anew. /INQUIRER