Tropical storm ‘Gener’ raises signal up north
MANILA, Philippines—Public storm signal No. 1 was raised on Saturday over Isabela and Cagayan provinces, including Batanes, Calayan and the Babuyan Group of Islands, as a low pressure area east of Virac, Catanduanes, intensified into a tropical storm.
Named “Gener” (international name Saola), the storm was tracked at 10 a.m. Saturday 250 kilometers northeast of Virac, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). It was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour, and gusts of up to 80 kph. It was moving northwest at a speed of 15 kph.
Pagasa forecaster Benjie de Paz said Gener “is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring heavy rains over southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, especially its western section.”
Gener is not expected to make landfall based on current projections. “But we are not discounting the possibility that it might make landfall,” rainfall specialist Sharon Arruejo said by phone.
The weather bureau alerted residents of low-lying and mountainous areas in southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao to possible flash floods and landslides.
Estimated rainfall amount is from 10-25 mm per hour (heavy-intense) within the 400 km diameter of the tropical depression, Pagasa said.
Fishing boats and other small sea craft were advised not to venture out to sea due to the combined effect of Gener and the southwest monsoon.
Tornado in Bohol
In Bohol, about 85 houses and 13 pumpboats were damaged on Friday morning when a tornado struck four coastal barangays in Jagna town.
Based on a report by the Jagna Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), the whirlwind hit the coastal barangays of Can-upao, Bunga Mar, Cantagay and Ipil at about 11 a.m. during a downpour.
The families affected reportedly evacuated to homes of relatives nearby.
The pumpboats destroyed were estimated to be worth at least P1.3 million.
Vicente Orias, MDRRMC personnel, said some residents remembered seeing a black formation in the sky that suddenly hit the ground. Houses made of light materials were uprooted, Orias added.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto, Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim and personnel from Department of Social Welfare and Development went to the affected areas to distribute relief goods.
Weather forecaster Boy Artiaga of Pagasa-Cebu said tornados can occur because of thick thunderstorm clouds triggered by an enhanced southwest monsoon or habagat.
Barangay Can-upao was worst hit with 43 damaged houses followed by Bunga Mar, 39; Cantagay, 2, and Ipil, 1.
This morning, Gener is expected to be 310 km east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora; by Monday morning 460 km north northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, and on Tuesday morning 380 km north northeast of Basco, Batanes, Pagasa said.
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