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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Storm 'Chedeng' enters Philippines


MANILA, Philippines - Be ready for heavy rains and strong winds starting tomorrow.

Tropical storm “Chedeng” (international name Songda) is moving closer to the country, Robert Sawi, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather branch chief, said yesterday.

Chedeng is expected to intensify into a typhoon in the next 24 hours, he added.

Speaking to reporters, Sawi said the storm will start dumping rains over the eastern section of the country beginning Wednesday, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Chedeng is so far the strongest tropical cyclone to enter the country this year,” he said.

He warned fishermen against venturing into the seas in Visayas and Mindanao.

Big waves are expected to prevail over these areas, he added.

Graciano Yumul, PAGASA supervising undersecretary, said Chedeng will continue to gather strength while over the Pacific Ocean.

Chedeng could still intensify into a super typhoon,” he said.

Yumul said everybody should prepare as the whole country is expected to experience rains and strong winds due to the storm.

The eastern seaboard will be directly affected by the storm but it will also enhance the southwest monsoon which will bring rains over the western seaboard… the western seaboard will be extremely wet from Wednesday to Friday,” he said.

Yumul said the storm could dump up to 20 to 55 millimeters per hour of rainfall, which is close to the 56 mm per hour rainfall brought by tropical storm “Ondoy” in September 2009.

Moderate to heavy rains will be felt by residents in the eastern seaboard particularly in the provinces of Samar and Negros starting tomorrow, he added.

Yumul said Chedeng is expected to make landfall over Cagayan-Isabela area on Friday, if it maintains its speed and direction.

Residents in Metro Manila and Central Luzon will also experience moderate to heavy rains starting Thursday night to Friday, he added.

As of 2 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Chedeng was spotted at 720 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.

Chedeng was forecast to move west northwest at 15 kph.

No storm warning signals were raised as of yesterday afternoon.

Rains will prevail over the Bicol region, Quezon, Quirino and Aurora on Thursday and in Cagayan-Isabela Aurora on Friday.

Chedeng, the third tropical storm to enter the country this year, is expected to be at 540 km east northeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar this morning and at 360 km east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes by tomorrow morning.

By Thursday morning, it will be at 265 km north northeast of Virac or at 250 km east of Casuguran, Aurora.

Red Cross: Prepare for storm

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) urged residents yesterday to prepare for Chedeng.

Gwendolyn Pang, PRC secretary-general, said the public must constantly monitor the progress of the typhoon.

Strengthen (your) houses that are made of light materials,” she said. “Prepare survival kits.”

Residents must avoid coastal, mountainous, streams and riverbanks, especially when the storm signal is high, she added.

Pang said PRC staff and volunteers have been alerted to monitor their areas for flooding and landslides and to report serious incidents.

They were advised to be on full alert status including their Red Cross 143 volunteers,” she said.

We have identified volunteers to go on duty in case needed.

The PRC had already “pre-positioned” some 8,000 families for initial response if necessary, Pang said.

Salceda distributes rubber boats

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda distributed yesterday three rubber boats to the Army, Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fire Protection in preparation for Chedeng.

Each rubber boat costs P480,000.

Salceda has met twice with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) to make adequate preparation.

The radius of the storm is 500 kms., following almost the same path of tropical storm “Bebeng” a week ago.

Salceda ordered PAGASA to provide a five-day forecast even if the weather disturbance is still outside the country.

We are still within its scope because on Wednesday Chedeng is 360 kms east northeastern of Virac,” he said.

Jun Dalida, PAGASA Southern Luzon bureau chief, said Chedeng has accelerated slightly as it continues to move in the west northwest direction as of 11:00 a.m. Tuesday.

It is still at sea and packs maximum winds of 95 kph near the center and gusts of up to 120 kph and continues to move northwest at 15 kph, he added.

Dalida said based on rainfall monitoring dated May 15 this year the normal monthly rainfall in this city which is 170 mm has already reached 296mm, while that of Guinobatan town has already reached 357mm compared to its normal level at 130mm.

We have to prepare because Chedeng carries more water than tropical storm Bebeng,” he said.

Dalida said Albay is already water-logged.

The Juban station in Sorsogon also showed an abnormally high rainfall level from 130mm to 700mm, he added.

In Nagtapis Point in Bacacay, Albay, Navy divers and Coast Guard rescue team are trying to help a cargo vessel which ran aground in Barangay Busdac.

Brig. Gen. Marlou Salazar, 9th Infantry Division assistant commander, said 72 vehicles are ready in case a preemptive evacuation order is given while Army search and rescue teams are already on standby. — With Sheila Crisostomo, Celso Amo


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