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‘Karen very destructive’

THE state weather bureau raised Signal No. 3 over eight areas as Typhoon “Karen” [international name: Sarika] barreled toward Luzon with weathermen fearing it could be “the most damaging” storm this year.

“We can see from the radar that the storm is very destructive. It can destroy wooden houses, it can topple trees. It can possibly rip off roofs... This could so far, be the most damaging typhoon this year,” said forecaster Benison Estareja of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

As Typhoon 'Karen' barreled toward Luzon Island, motorists were confronted with this watery skyline of Makati City as seen through a car’s windshield. Sonny Espiritu
While the storm is not the most powerful to hit the country this year, it could cause the most damage as it will cross heavily-populated areas just north of Manila, Estareja said.

“This one will have an impact because most of the people are in [that part of] Luzon. Even Metropolitan Manila will be affected,” he warned.

Karen, packing maximum winds of 180 kilometers per hour, has already knocked out all power and telephone lines on the eastern island of Catanduanes, the civil defense office said.

It is forecast to hit the province of Aurora on the east coast of the main island of Luzon before dawn Sunday and is expected to cross Central Luzon before heading out to sea Sunday evening, he added.

Pagasa raised Signal Number 3 over Camarines Norte, northern Quezon including Polillo Island, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Aurora and northern Zambales.

These areas will experience strong winds and heavy rains, with coastal areas at risk of storm surges of up to two meters (more than six feet), the forecaster said.

Signal Number 2, on the other hand, was raised over Catanduanes, the rest of Quezon, Quirino, Camarines Sur, Rizal, Bulacan, the rest of Zambales, La Union, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ifugao, Benguet and southern Isabela.

Low-lying areas will be at risk of flooding while mountainous areas could suffer landslides.

Although the storm did not hit the eastern region of Bicol, that area experienced heavy rains as it passed nearby on Saturday, said civil defense spokeswoman Rachel Miranda.

It has already left more than 246,000 residents of Catanduanes island without electricity and telephone lines, she told AFP.

More than 400 people were evacuated from their homes and sea and air travel in these areas has been suspended as a safety precaution, officials said.

All units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were placed on alert Saturday as part of the mitigation efforts for Karen.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad said all military units in regions that will be affected by Karen have been ordered to pre-position equipment for disaster rescue and recovery operations.

Jalad said NDRRMC Operations Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City has been placed on “blue alert” to constantly monitor the tropical storm’s progress and impact. 

Topics: Typhoon Karen , Typhoon Sarika
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