Rains, floods in ‘Butchoy’s’ wake
TYPHOON “Butchoy” (international name: “Nepartak”) has already exited the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), but parts of the country would continue to experience strong rains by Saturday, the state weather bureau said.
Butchoy enhanced the southwest monsoon and brought wet weather for most of Friday, forcing disaster officials to move some 200 people in three low-lying Zambales towns to safer ground. Up to 51 families in the towns of San Felipe, San Antonio and San Narciso were evacuated after three to four feet of water submerged their homes, provincial disaster officials said.
There were no immediate reports of any casualties, but the bad weather caused power interruptions and suspension of classes and work in the region, as was in Metro Manila, officials said. Parts of the city were flooded.
Flights grounded, diverted
Eighteen flights, including aircraft to and from Taiwan where Butchoy made landfall early Friday, were grounded, according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). In addition, 10 Taiwan registered commercial planes sought shelter at the Clark International Airport, north of Manila.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad in Manila warned officials to continue monitoring even as the storm has already exited. He said its effects would continue to be felt in the country.
In particular, strong rainfall is expected to continue until Saturday morning in central and southern Luzon. Butchoy has been enhancing the southwest monsoon since it entered PAR three days ago, before veering upwards to Taiwan.
Though all storm signals have been lifted as of yesterday afternoon, red rainfall warning has been declared over Zambales and Bataan provinces.
In Manila, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed Memorandum Circular No. 2 suspending work in all government agencies. But agencies involved in disaster response, including health services, were told to stay put.
Residents in Cavite were also warned of possible flooding, with the orange rainfall warning declared over the province. Yellow rainfall warning meanwhile was hoisted over Metro Manila, Rizal and Batangas provinces, where flooding was expected in low-lying areas “traditionally flooded even with little rain,” Jalad said.
Strong current damaged the Gabor Dike in San Felipe town, while water in the Namatacan Dike was said to be in critical condition, according to Zambales officials.
In Pampanga province, 10 commercial planes were diverted to Clark International Airport, a former American base which has been designated as an emergency facility for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the capital.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and Zest Air also diverted 10 planes to Clark as heavy rains blanketed Manila, rendering poor visibility. Among the flights diverted were PAL Airbus 340 from San Francisco, Cebu Pacific flight 319 from Cebu, Air Asia Airbus 320 from Mactan, Cebu Pacific A320 from Bacolod, and Asiana Airlines from South Korea.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, in its bulletin before noon Friday, said Butchoy has weakened as it crossed southern Taiwan. As of 5 p.m., the typhoon was tracked packing maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour near the center, and gustiness of up to 185 kph. Estimated rainfall is from moderate to heavy within the 600-kilometer diameter of the typhoon.
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