Storm to hit RP late Friday

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By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – The weather bureau reported yesterday that the typhoon brewing over the Pacific Ocean was expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility last night and would likely make landfall late Friday over the northern part of Central Luzon.

Senior weather forecaster Robert Sawi of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the typhoon, with international name “Mirinae,” continued to gain strength as it moved closer to the country. The typhoon would be named “Santi” once it enters the country’s territory.

Sawi said the typhoon is expected to make landfall in the vicinity of Aurora and Nueva Ecija and threaten Northern and Central Luzon.

He said the typhoon would start bringing rains over these areas on Friday.

“Worsening weather is expected late Friday as it makes landfall over central Luzon. We can expect a very intense typhoon,” Sawi said.

The eye of the typhoon was spotted at 1,390 kilometers east of Central Luzon with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph as of 4 p.m. yesterday. It was forecast to move west at 22 kph.

Sawi said residents in affected areas could expect stormy weather until Saturday.

Improving weather condition is likely in Luzon starting Sunday as Filipinos observe All Saints’ Day, he said.

Meanwhile, Sawi said Metro Manila and Southern Luzon would not be directly hit by the typhoon. However, these areas could also experience cloudy skies with scattered rain showers on Friday.

Sawi said a strong high-pressure area positioned north of the typhoon was blocking it from moving northward.

He said there is a very slim chance that the typhoon would not hit land because of the influence of the high-pressure area.

Meanwhile, Sawi said the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) would continue to bring rains over the Visayas and Mindanao.

However, he said improving weather is expected over these regions as the ITCZ moves northward.

DSWD prepares relief goods

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) started “pre-positioning” relief goods in areas that are likely to be affected by Santi.

Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said more than 70 truckloads of relief goods would be sent to 16 provinces in Regions 1, 3, 4-A and 5, areas likely to be affected by the storm.

Cabral said the relief supplies include food packs, potable water, mats, blankets and clothing.

“We felt that it was better to advance the delivery of goods to areas likely to be hit by the typhoon, so we will start pre-positioning the relief supplies on Thursday,” said Cabral.

“We appeal to the local government units and residents of these areas to take the necessary precautionary measures for the incoming typhoon,” Cabral said.

President Arroyo would lead this morning’s send-off ceremony of the relief caravan dubbed “Sama-Samang Pagtulong Relief Caravan” at the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City.

“We shall divide the relief caravan into 16 groups based on their provincial and regional destinations. We have already identified drop-off points where Provincial Disaster Coordinating Councils (PDCCs) and local government officials will receive the relief goods. On the other hand, the DSWD will supervise and monitor the distribution of relief goods,” Cabral said.

The drop-off points are Lingayen City, Pangasinan for Region 1; San Fernando, Pampanga, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac City in Tarlac for Region 3; Tanay in Rizal, Cavite City in Cavite, Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Batangas City, Batangas; and Lucena City, Quezon for Region 4-A ; Daet, Camarines Norte; Naga City, Camarines Sur; Sorsogon, Sorsogon; Legazpi City, Albay, and Virac, Catanduanes for Region 5.

The relief caravan is being undertaken by the DSWD in partnership with other government institutions, non-government organizations and foreign aid agencies.

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