Disaster officials on Wednesday warned the public to brace for Typhoon “Mawar” as it may enter the Philippine areas of responsibility on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
As of Wednesday Morning, “Mawar” was spotted 2,305 kilometers east of the Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 175 km per hour and gustiness of up to 215 km/h.
The eye of Typhoon Mawar passed just north of Guam late Wednesday, but the eyewall – the strongest part of the storm – brought powerful winds and heavy rain to the US territory.
The strongest storm to impact Guam in decades, Mawar pelted the entire 30-mile-wide island with hurricane-force winds.
The Guam International Airport recorded sustained winds of 71 mph with a gust of 105 mph Wednesday evening. An extreme wind warning was in effect for the northern part of Guam until 10:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. ET) for winds that could create tornado-like damage.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) downgraded “Mawar” to a typhoon after initially categorizing it as a super typhoon.
It said it could remain a typhoon for the next 12 hours before intensifying again into a super typhoon.
Once “Mawar” enters the PAR, it will be given the local name of “Betty,” the state weather bureau said.
PAGASA said the western portions of MIMAROPA, Visayas, and Mindanao are expected to be hit by enhanced monsoon rains, as will the western portions of Southern Luzon and Visayas from Sunday onward.
Government agencies are now implementing measures based on emergency preparedness and response protocols of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which include the dissemination of warnings, and the preparation of relief assistance for distribution and rescue teams for deployment.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said a total of 797,051 family food packs (FFP) worth P565.78 million have been stockpiled in its regional offices.
There are also 110,667 FFPs available in disaster response centers in Metro Manila and the Visayas.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) directed all its regional directors to coordinate with their respective regional disaster risk reduction and management councils and to remind all local government units to prepare for the coming storm.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said preemptive evacuations are expected to be imposed in the coastal towns of Batanes and some parts of Cagayan as Mawar approaches the country.
In a statement, OCD Assistant Secretary Raffy Alejandro IV said the OCD and its regional offices are monitoring the situation, in coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and other concerned government agencies.
Alejandro said the OCD has initially alerted the local government units (LGUs) in the eastern seaboard of the country that could be affected by the storm.
Based on the current forecast, the storm is not expected to make landfall and will have no direct effect on the country’s weather system, but officials said Mawar could pull or intensify southwest monsoon or habagat, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rain as it enters the Philippine area of responsibility.
Alejandro said responders and rescue teams are now on alert and standby, adding that relief goods and other items were stockpiled and positioned.
Airports operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), especially in the Ilocos and Cagayan regions, have already conducted coordination meetings and assessments to gear up for possible weather disturbance.
“Apart from typhoon preparedness plans, CAAP Tacloban also conducted a regular in-airport incident drill on Tuesday, as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure readiness in times of unwanted aircraft incidents,” said CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio.
NDRRMC spokesperson Assistant Secretary Bernardito Rafaelito Alejandro IV said local governments in northern Luzon, especially those in coastal towns prone to floods and landslides, are expected to conduct preemptive evacuation
“We are alerting coastal communities as far as Bicol because this is a super typhoon, this will create large waves. Our fishers will be affected. We will need to temporarily ban fishing trips,” Alejandro said in Filipino.
The weather bureau said the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Bangsamoro Region, and Palawan will experience cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms due to the southwesterly wind flow and localized thunderstorms on Wednesday.
A frontal system will bring cloudy skies with rains in Batanes and Babuyan Islands, said the weather agency.
Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms, it added.
Most parts of the country will experience rains due to two weather systems, the weather bureau said.