‘Falcon’ leaves 4 dead
Tropical Storm “Falcon” (international name: Danas) gained strength as it blew out of the country on Thursday, leaving four people dead in two provinces in northern and central Luzon.
As of 4 p.m. on Thursday, Falcon was centered 655 kilometers north-northeast of Basco, Batanes province, out of the Philippine area of responsibility earlier than had been expected.
Falcon gained a bit of strength and speed as it moved northward at midday.
From 20 kilometers per hour earlier, it exited the country faster at 25 kph, carrying maximum winds of 80 kph from an earlier 75 kph, and gusts of up to 100 kph, stronger than 90 kph earlier.
Falcon’s departure, however, won’t bring clear skies on Friday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Pagasa said monsoon rains would persist in the Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region and the provinces of Bataan and Zambales on Friday.
In Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, cloudy skies and scattered rain showers would make the day bleak, according to the weather service.
Thunderstorms may bring isolated rain showers in the Visayas and Mindanao, it said.
But clear weather may be expected during the weekend, it added.
Pagasa, however, is monitoring low pressure that may develop into a tropical depression during the weekend.
As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, the low-pressure zone was 310 km west-northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur province, still outside the Philippine area of responsibility.
Once it becomes a tropical cyclone, it will be named “Goring.”
Falcon touched down in Gattaran town, Cagayan, at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, drenching swaths of the far north, swelling waterways and flooding communities as far as Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
Judith Berbano, 43, a farmer, drowned after being swept away by strong current while gathering driftwood on a swollen river in Abulug town, said Rogelio Sending Jr., acting provincial information officer.
On Tuesday, as rains generated by Falcon hammered Cagayan, another farmer, Carlos Zedong, 45, of Gattaran, drowned while crossing the swollen Dummun River, Sending said.
Drownings in Zambales
In Zambales province, two college students drowned while swimming off a beach in Iba town as Falcon befouled the weather on Tuesday.
The bodies of Marisol Yeke, 21, and Alison Testimio, 20, were recovered from waters off Barangay Lipay-Dingin in Iba, police said.
In Apayao province, people living near a river in Pudtol town were ordered to move to safer grounds when part of the riverbank near their homes eroded under heavy rains on Tuesday.
Landslides triggered by incessant rains damaged houses in Upper Maton and Mataguisi villages, also in Pudtol.
In Pampanga province, 15 villages in the coastal town of Masantol went under water a meter deep, according to the provincial disaster office.
School was called off in the towns of Floridablanca, Guagua, Macabebe, Masantol and Sasmuan, and in Mabalacat City.
Intermittent rains dumped by Falcon damaged houses and forced their occupants to shelters in Mindoro.
As of Thursday, 15 families, or 54 people, remained in an evacuation center at Bongabong town in Oriental Mindoro province, the regional disaster office said.
Floodwaters rose on Wednesday, damaging 15 houses made of light materials in Barangay Camantigue.
In Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro province, a meter-high storm surge damaged a house in Barangay Alibog.
Four families, or 20 people, were evacuated. They were allowed to return to their houses on Thursday.
Classes resumed at schools in Camarines Sur and Albay provinces in Bicol as the weather improved on Thursday.
Authorities were still assessing the damage caused by Falcon to infrastructure and agriculture in the region. —REPORTS FROM JHESSET O. ENANO, FRANCES MANGOSING, JOANNA ROSE ALIBOT, VILLAMOR VISAYA JR., LEILANIE ADRIANO AND MARICAR CINCO
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