NDRRMC raises ‘blue alert’ over ‘Odette’
Better stay put for the weekend until the storm has passed.
This was the advice of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to the public, as it raised the alert status to “blue” on Friday to signal that its member government agencies will start conducting 24/7 operations to coordinate relief and rescue efforts for Severe Tropical Storm “Odette” (international name: “Khanun”).
“Everyone is strongly encouraged to stay at home and postpone any leisure and tourist activities, especially in northern Luzon until [the storm] has ceased,” the NDRRMC said in a statement on Friday.
As of 5 p.m. on Friday, “Odette” had intensified into a severe tropical storm packing maximum sustained winds of 90 kph near the center, gustiness of up to 113 kph, and moderate to heavy estimated rainfall amount within its 400-kilometer diameter, which as of Friday included the provinces of Zambales and Bataan.
The storm prompted the hoisting of tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1 over Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Batanes and the Babuyan group of Islands, while sea travel was also discouraged by the state weather bureau over the seaboards of northern Luzon, of western and of southern Luzon.
The eye of the storm was last located at 205 kilometers west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur and was heading toward the West Philippine Sea as of press time. “Odette” is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Saturday morning.
An emergency response preparedness meeting to brace for the storm’s effects was conducted on Friday morning at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city, attended by the Office of the Civil Defense, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the Interior and Local Government department, Social Welfare department, Health department, Bureau of Fire Protection, the military, the police, and the coast guard, among others.
Rains with gusty winds
According to Pagasa weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio in a press briefing at 5 p.m. on Friday, as “Odette” exits the Philippine area of responsibility, rains with gusty winds are expected over the areas under storm signal, the western section of northern and central Luzon. Aurelio warned of possible flashfloods and landslides.
The rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, Visayas and Zamboanga pensinusla will also experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains.
Improved weather conditions are expected starting Saturday, especially in the eastern section of the archipelago as “Odette” moves further west, though the western portion of Luzon and Visayas will still experience rains, Aurelio said.
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