‘Agaton’ may morph back into a storm, says Pagasa
From low pressure area (LPA) to tropical depression to LPA—to tropical depression again? Or even stronger?
Weathermen on Tuesday raised the possibility that Tropical Depression Agaton, which has weakened into an LPA, might morph back with the same name and threaten communities anew in eastern parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.
Forecaster Manny Mendoza of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the LPA had a 50-50 chance of turning into a tropical cyclone a second time. A cyclone generally refers to a weather disturbance that may be a tropical depression, storm or typhoon.
Agaton, which claimed at least 60 lives and displaced some 20,000 families in Mindanao since it struck on Friday before it was downgraded back to an LPA, was almost stationary at 465 kilometers east of Davao City as of mid-Tuesday, Pagasa said.
It was being influenced by two high pressure areas in the Pacific Ocean, Mendoza said. “It remains strong because it is still over the sea,” he said.
Pagasa maintained its warning of flash floods and landslides, possibly triggered by the LPA in Eastern Visayas, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
Swollen Agusan River
In Agusan del Sur province, the rain was no longer as heavy on Tuesday as in the past days, but landslides and flash floods caused by a swelling Agusan River sent thousands more residents fleeing to safety.
Kaye Torralba, spokesperson of the Butuan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the number of evacuees had risen to 16,796 families from 10,000 the day before. They are staying in at least 75 temporary shelters, she said.
The Agusan River breached the critical level of 4.55 meters, prompting authorities to order residents to leave their houses along the river and in landslide-prone villages.
“There’s an ongoing forced rescue operation in all riverside villages in the city,” Torralba said.
Floodwater remained in waist- and chest-deep levels in 83 villages of Butuan where hundreds of houses were submerged.
The number of fatalities was pegged at 26 persons, with five missing and 65,649 families (310,594 persons) displaced throughout the five-province region.
Classes in all levels and work in government office in the cities of Butuan, Tandag and Surigao, in Asuncion town in Davao del Norte, and the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Dinagat and Surigao del Sur were still suspended.
Commercial flights in and out of Butuan, the regional capital, were canceled.
In Manila, at least 32 flights to Butuan, Surigao and Cagayan de Oro cities in Northern Mindanao were canceled at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Tuesday.
The Manila International Airport Authority, the government agency that runs the Naia, said 16 departure and 16 arrival flights were canceled at Terminals 3 and 4 by local carriers PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Zest.
At Terminal 3, passengers formed long queues to rebook their flights to Cagayan de Oro. Many were worried about their families back home due to reports of floods and landslides in the city and other parts of Misamis Oriental.
Some 2,810 shipping passengers were also stranded in ports in Catbalogan City in Samar province, Cebu City, Pasacao town in Camarines Sur province, Maasin City in Southern Leyte province and Masbate City due to bad weather, according to the spokesman of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Cmdr. Armand Balilo, who is also chief of the Coast Guard’s public affairs office, reported that 19 interisland ships carrying 475 “rolling cargoes” and six motor boats were prevented from sailing.
In Davao del Norte province, Asuncion Mayor Joseph Nilo Parrenas said the Saug River overflowed after days of heavy rain, flooding half of the town.
The provincial board of Compostela Valley on Tuesday declared the province under a state of calamity. Two days before, municipal officials of Compostela Valley, Monkayo, Montevista and New Bataan made similar proclamations as bad weather damaged crops and infrastructure facilities.—With reports from Franklin A. Caliguid, Frinston Lim and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao; and Jerome Aning and Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila
Originally posted: 3:19 pm | Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
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