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WEATHER SIGNALS HOISTED

‘Falcon’ intensifies into storm as it approaches Northern Luzon

ITBAYAT, Batanes, Philippines — Fishermen in this northernmost island town of Batanes province are staying on land as Tropical Depression “Falcon” crawls toward extreme northern Luzon on Wednesday.

The weather bureau said Falcon intensified into a tropical storm as it approached land on Tuesday afternoon.

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The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) placed northeastern Cagayan — including the Babuyan Islands — under tropical cyclone warning signal No. 2 and the rest of Cagayan, Batanes, the northern parts of Ilocos Norte, Abra, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, the eastern parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao under signal No. 1 on Tuesday as Falcon neared.

No sailing

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Pagasa advised fishermen and operators of small vessels against going out to sea off the eastern coast of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Falcon has a “moderate chance” of making landfall in the Babuyan Islands and Batanes, Benison Estareja, a weather specialist with Pagasa, said on Tuesday.

But as the islands are small and scattered, Falcon might just make a “close approach,” Estareja said.

The combination of Falcon’s trough and the enhanced southwest monsoon will bring moderate to heavy rain to the Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Zambales, Bataan and Mindoro provinces on Wednesday.

While Metro Manila is not threatened, Estareja said residents of the capital could expect light to moderate rain generated by the southwest monsoon.

Light to moderate and occasionally heavy rain can also be expected in Calabarzon, Western Visayas and the rest of Central Luzon and Mimaropa.

Flights canceled

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As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Falcon was located 335 kilometers east-southeast of Tuguegarao City, with maximum winds of 65 km per hour and gusts of 80 kph.

Bad weather on Tuesday forced the cancellation of 16 domestic flights at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport and a ban on sailing by small vessels in waters off the eastern coast of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Classes were also called off in Albay province, Cavite City, and at least three towns in North Cotabato province.

Mercideta Foronda, a provincial disaster official in Cotabato, advised people living in low-lying villages to be alert for flooding.

Rhodora Periodico, Cavite provincial disaster officer, reported no flooding in Cavite City, but Libon Mayor Das Maronilla said heavy rain caused flash floods and landslides in Burabod, Poblacion and Paclas villages.

In Isabela and Cagayan, local disaster councils called emergency meetings on Tuesday as they prepared for a beating from Falcon on Wednesday.

Officials in Isabela imposed a liquor ban and warned fishermen in coastal towns against going to sea.

Magat Dam normal

The stock level at Magat Dam in Ramon town, Isabela, remained normal at 180.45 meters above sea level, according to Carlo Ablan, head of the dam’s flood forecasting and instrumentation division.

In Cabanatuan City, villagers cleared canals and small waterways to ease flooding expected to come with heavy rains brought by Falcon.

—Reports from Nathan Alcantara, Villamor Visaya Jr., Armand Galang, Patricia Denise M. Chiu, Jerome Aning, Frances Mangosing, Michael Jaucian, Maricar Cinco, Mar S. Arguelles and Williamor A. Magbanua

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TAGS: Pagasa, Philippine weather, Tropical Storm Falcon
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