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‘Egay’ triggers floods in northern Luzon

WHIPPING WAVES  A man frolics in Manila Bay’s big waves splashing over a seawall near the fish port of Navotas City in Metro Manila. Tropical Storm “Egay” (international name: Linfa) made landfall in Palanan, Isabela province, on Saturday, intensifying the southwest monsoon that caused floods and landslides in western Luzon.  ARNOLD ALMACEN

WHIPPING WAVES A man frolics in Manila Bay’s big waves splashing over a seawall near the fish port of Navotas City in Metro Manila. Tropical Storm “Egay” (international name: Linfa) made landfall in Palanan, Isabela province, on Saturday, intensifying the southwest monsoon that caused floods and landslides in western Luzon. ARNOLD ALMACEN

Rain dumped by Tropical Storm “Egay” (international name: Linfa) triggered floods and landslides that slowed down vehicular traffic in major roads in Isabela, La Union and the upland Cordillera provinces on Sunday.

Strong winds and huge waves destroyed 76 houses and damaged 31 others in Cebu, Negros Occidental and Antique provinces as Egay, which has a 400-km-diameter cloud cover, whipped up the southwest monsoon in the Visayas.

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The wind also felled trees, blew away billboards and damaged electric lines that triggered power outages in Iloilo City and the province of Iloilo.

Two tornadoes and flooding hit Negros Occidental. No casualties were reported.

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Because of bad weather, 14 Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines Express flights were canceled as of 1 p.m., Sunday.

Egay made landfall in Palanan, Isabela, around 10 p.m. on Saturday with maximum winds of 95 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 120 kph.

The storm moved slowly at 9 kph northwestward as it cut across Cagayan, Apayao and Ilocos Norte provinces where it exited the Luzon landmass by Sunday afternoon.

New storm

Egay is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Wednesday afternoon, during which a storm with international name “Chon Ham” is expected to enter the PAR.

Chon Ham, locally named “Falcon,” is not expected to hit land but it may pass close to the PAR boundary, according to government meteorologist Glady Salumbides.

Even after Egay’s exit from Luzon, heavy rains will continue over northern Luzon since the storm has enhanced the southwest monsoon, Salumbides said.

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She said rains would continue to be felt over the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, as well as Western Visayas for the next few days.

Egay pummeled the provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province, causing pockets of erosion that blocked a road linking vegetable-producing towns of Bokod and Kabayan, a portion of Halsema Highway leading to Mountain Province, and a road connecting Mountain Province and Tagudin town in Ilocos Sur province.

Volunteers and work crew deployed by the Department of Public Works and Highways started clearing these roads of debris.

Three families in Benguet’s capital, La Trinidad, were evacuated from Barangay (village) Puguis, the site of a landslide in 2009, which killed 77 people.

No injuries were reported from Egay’s incursion, except for a carabao that drowned and was recovered in San Mariano town in Isabela.

Continuous rain made the rivers rise in Isabela, causing floodwaters to submerge five overflow bridges on Sunday.

Heavy rain was recorded in the Dumayup and Magat watershed areas, according to Wilfredo Gloria, Magat River Integrated Irrigation System operations manager.

Isabela’s coastal towns of Dinapigue, Divilacan, Palanan and Maconacon reported rough seas.

Outages

In La Union, 11 coastal coastal towns and San Fernando City were underwater due to the overflow of major river basins, said Melchito Castro, Ilocos director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

“The major river basins swelled because of the rains. In San Fernando City, the major roads are no longer passable and the houses under water,” Castro said on Sunday.

The province has been suffering from power outage since Sunday morning.

Patients at Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City have been evacuated due to rising floodwaters, Castro said.

Residents waded in waist-deep floodwaters in Bacnotan town in La Union.

Several towns in Pangasinan lost power when a 69-kilovolt line of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines tripped due to the rains. Affected towns were Labrador, Sual, Mabini, Burgos, Dasol, Infanta, Agno, Bani, Anda and Bolinao and Alaminos City.

Dam levels

But even with the heavy rains, the water levels in major dams in Luzon, which are already below their normal operating levels, continued to go down on Saturday.

Angat Dam in Bulacan province decreased further by 0.18 meters to 169.14 meters above sea level. With irrigation supply already restricted, even the supply for Metro Manila’s domestic water needs will be limited once the dam breaches the 160-m mark.

Magat Dam in Isabela, one of Luzon’s major power and irrigation sources, also went down further by 0.38 m to 176.68 masl. Its minimum operational level to generate power is 160 masl.

The level in Ambuklao Dam in Benguet, San Roque Dam in Pangasinan, Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija province and Caliraya Dam in Laguna province also went down. Only La Mesa Dam in Quezon City and Binga Dam in Benguet saw their levels slightly go up.

Destroyed homes

In Barangays (villages) Cansujong and Poblacion in Talisay City in Cebu, huge waves destroyed 67 houses Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Talisay Mayor Johnny de los Reyes said over 50 families had been evacuated to Cansujong Elementary School.

The city’s disaster office encouraged residents in other coastal villages to evacuate to safe ground. A truck of the local government was on standby to pick them up and transfer them to schools serving as evacuation centers.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office distributed food packs to the evacuees.

Metro Cebu experienced moderate to heavy rainfall. Small vessels with trips from Cebu to other provinces like Bohol, Leyte, Samar and other areas were not allowed to sail by the Coast Guard since Thursday due to strong waves.

Barges and roll-on, roll-off cargo and passenger vessels were, however, allowed to operate. But the Coast Guard strictly implemented the no-overloading policy. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in Cebu City ports as well as in the Mandaue City Wharf.

Tornadoes

Two tornadoes and flooding hit Negros Occidental with no casualties reported, according to reports reaching the Office of Civil Defense in Western Visayas.

A tornado destroyed seven houses and damaged 20 others in Barangay Mambulac in Silay City in Negros Occidental. Twenty-seven families, or 108 persons, were affected.

Two other houses were destroyed and seven others damaged by a tornado in Barangay Bagroy in Bago City with nine families, or 35 persons, affected.

Big waves

In Valladolid town in Negros Occidental, five families or 20 persons were evacuated due to flooding in Barangay Tabao Proper, according to the OCD report.

In Sebaste town in Antique, big waves damaged four houses, according to Broderick Train, executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

While Iloilo was not under any storm signal, strong winds felled trees and damaged power lines triggering brownouts since Friday, according to Panay Electric Co., Iloilo City’s power distributor.

Wind speed reached 62 kph, already considered under Storm Signal No. 2, according to Darwin Papa, operations chief of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

The Coast Guard regulated boat trips between Iloilo and Guimaras Island, limiting the number of ferry passengers to 75 percent of boat capacity. Trips were up to 6 p.m. or before dusk.

Trips of passenger boats between the Caticlan jetty port and Guimaras were also closely monitored by the Coast Guard.–Reports from Villamor Visaya Jr., Gabriel Cardinoza, Yolanda Sotelo and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Nestor P. Burgos Jr. and Carine Asutilla, Inquirer Visayas; and Julie M. Aurelio and Jeannette I. Andrade in Manila

 

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