Tropical depression “Pepito” on Tuesday developed into a tropical storm that threatened Aurora province.
After crossing the landmass of Luzon, it is forecast to intensify and may reach severe tropical storm category by Thursday.
This developed as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Tuesday around five to eight more storms might hit the Philippines this year, of which one or two could cause serious damage.
Disaster response personnel have been placed on high alert while rescue equipment was prepositioned in the event of widespread flooding—which already occurred in places such as Quezon Province in the north and the Agusan provinces in Mindanao.
'Pepito' continued to bring moderate to heavy rains in Central Luzon areas including Pampanga.
The Pampanga Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office activated its operations center to monitor the effect of the storm and to respond quickly in areas badly hit by the typhoon.
Tropical cyclone wind signal no. 2 was raised in La Union, Pangasinan, Ifugao, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Aurora, the southern portion of Isabela, the northern portion of Zambales and the northern portion of Quezon.
Signal no. 1 was in effect in Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Metro Manila, Rizal, the rest of northern portion of Quezon and the rest of Zambales
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the center of “Pepito” was estimated at 110 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora.
It was moving west northwestward at 30 km/h packing maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 90 km/h.
“Pepito” was forecast to make landfall over the coast of Aurora between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The weather bureau said it will move generally westward while traversing the Luzon landmass, and emerge over the West Philippine Sea Wednesday.
“Pepito” is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday morning or afternoon.
“Pepito” will bring moderate to heavy rains over Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Camarines Norte, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, mainland Cagayan, La Union, Pangasinan and Benguet.
Light to moderate with at times heavy rains will be experienced over the National Capital Region and the rest of Luzon, Western Visayas,
Zamboanga Peninsula and Bangsamoro.
Flooding (including flash floods) and rain-induced landslides may occur during heavy or prolonged rainfall, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.
Angelina Blanco, executive officer of the PDRRMO, said they have stockpiled enough food and non-food items, including medical supplies, to be distributed as needed.
Provincial evacuation centers, manned 24/7, were also activated for possible pre-emptive evacuation measures.
Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda called an emergency virtual Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) as part of the provincial government preparation for any eventualities that may arise due to typhoon 'Pepito'.
Pineda said that precautionary measures and disaster response are already in place. With Benjie Antioquia
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