MANILA, Philippines?(UPDATE 3) Residents in storm-weary Luzon were told to prepare for Typhoon Santi (international name: Mirinae) which is expected to make landfall Saturday, with rain forecast for flood-ravaged Metro Manila.
Santi, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 185 kph, was expected to intensify before it slams into Aurora province on Saturday afternoon, the state weather bureau Pagasa said.
"We should expect Santi to become a very intense typhoon in the next several hours or days," Pagasa spokesman Nathaniel Cruz said.
Storm signals have been hoisted over 16 Luzon provinces and residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes with storm signals were told to take precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides.
People in coastal villages were warned of possible storm surges and big waves which might be triggered by the typhoon.
The government has already positioned relief supplies in northern Luzon in preparation for Santi as the military and other rescue units were placed on alert.
Cruz said the effects of the typhoon may be felt beginning Friday afternoon.
In Metro Manila, a total of 1,231 enlisted men and 113 military officers are on standby amid warning from Pagasa that the capital region was likely to get more rain, potentially exacerbating the woes for more than one million people still living in flooded districts.
"If and when (Santi) will cross northern or central Luzon, definitely Metro Manila will be affected by strong winds and rains associated with it," Cruz said.
Captain Michael Aquino, spokesman of the National Capital Region Command, said the military has the Rapid Deployment Forces ready to augment Metro Manila police if necessary.
?We have to be ready for any eventuality,? Aquino said.
Santi?s expected arrival comes as Luzon is still trying to recover from two devastating storms that claimed more than 1,000 lives.
Parts of Manila remain flooded after Tropical Storm Ondoy (international codename: Ketsana) dumped the heaviest rains in more than four decades on the nation's capital on September 26.
Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) arrived exactly one week later, then hovered over northern Luzon as a tropical storm for nearly 10 days, causing massive flooding and triggering deadly landslides.
Pagasa said Santi was expected to move westward towards Central Luzon at 20 kilometers per hour.
Storm signal number 2 has been raised over Aurora, Northern Quezon, and Polillo Island while the provinces of Isabela, Ifugao, Quirino, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Rest of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes have been placed under signal number 1.
By Friday afternoon, Santi was forecast to be 360 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, and over the vicinity of Nueva Ecija or 90 kilometers north of Manila by Saturday morning, Pagasa said. With Agence France-Presse