MANILA, Philippines—Tropical depression “Crising” streaked past Zamboanga City and Basilan on its way to southern Palawan Wednesday, but people hardly noticed.
“We never felt the effects of Crising,” said Mayor Celso Lobregat. He even commented that the weather was “so good.”
Weathermen on Wednesday lifted public storm signals in all provinces, except southern Palawan, as Crising kept its peak winds at 45 kilometers per hour on its way out of the country.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) tracked it at 300 km northwest of Zamboanga City, moving northwest at 19 kph. On Thursday afternoon, it was expected to be 380 km southwest of Puerto Princesa City and leave the Philippine area of responsibility by nighttime.
With Signal No. 1 still up over southern Palawan, disaster authorities alerted the towns of Narra, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza and Balabac on possible preemptive evacuations although moderate rains were being experienced in these areas Wednesday afternoon. The municipalities are prone to flash floods and landslides.
“Right now, we are enforcing a no-sail policy, especially for small fishing vessels,” said Eugene Cabrera, regional director of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in a phone interview.
Fears that Crising might cause widespread destruction as did previous weather disturbances to hit Mindanao in recent months melted Wednesday in Zamboanga City.
A few hours after it “made landfall,” the sky was clear, Lobregat said. “It was sunny,” he added.
Adriano Fuego, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense, said Crising actually did not make landfall in the city but had touched down at sea “between Zamboanga City and Basilan.”
The storm triggered floods in Dipolog City, but residents were able to immediately return to their homes after briefly staying in safer areas, Fuego said. “The rest of the (Zamboanga) peninsula is OK, even Basilan,” he said.
Chief Supt. Juanito Vano Jr., Western Mindanao police chief, said “this region was blessed because it was spared by Crising.”
In Davao del Sur province, light showers fell over Jose Abad Santos town on Wednesday, unlike previous days when rains caused a river in Sta. Maria town to swell and water breached a dike and flooded at least three villages.
“Nobody was hurt though,” Roderick Milana, provincial disaster management chief, told the Inquirer.
In Cebu province, classes, plane flights and boat trips were canceled in the cities of Mandaue, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay and Naga, and in the towns of Cordova and Minglanilla due to bad weather.
Local officials decided to suspend the classes, saying rains might cause flooding.
Four vessels—Super Shuttle Ferry 17, Lite Ferry 6, Melrivic 9 and Fastcraft 2—stopped plying their routes to Danao, Dapitan and Toledo cities and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental province because of rough seas. On Tuesday night, the Lapu-Lapu Ferry 8 and Lady of Angels suspended their trips to Baybay and Bato towns in Leyte province.
Five outgoing flights of Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific in Mactan-Cebu International Airport were canceled.
In Leyte, minor landslides occurred in Barangay (village) Liberacion in Mahaplag town and Barangay Villa in Baybay City amid the heavy and continuous rains, said Ben Linde, spokesman of the Office of Civil Defense in Eastern Visayas.
“We are also asking our fishermen not to venture to the open sea at this time for their own safety,” Linde said.—With reports from Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon; and Jhunnex Napallacan, Doris Bongcac and Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas