PAGASA warns of flash floods, landslides due to twin storms

The state weather bureau on Saturday warned of possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to heavy rains in several areas due to Tropical Depression Quinta and the trough of severe tropical storm Pepito, which is already out of the Philippine area of responsibility.

PAGASA warns of flash floods, landslides due to twin storms
ROADS BLOCKED. A landslide completely blocks this road between Claveria and Sta. Praxedes towns in Cagayan Province on Saturday, while the combined rains from storms ‘Pepito’ and ‘Quinta’ eroded this road (inset) also between the two towns, which the Cagelco electric cooperative and DPWH in Region 2 are trying to fix. Meanwhile, to prepare for when ‘Quinta’ hits the Bicol region on Sunday, members of the Philippine Coast Guard’s Deployable Response Group (DRG) prepare lifeboats and other gear (also inset). CAGELCO, DPWH, PCG photos 
The two weather systems are forecast to bring cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms over the island provinces comprising the MIMAROPA Region, the Bicol Region, the Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Bangsamoro area, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said, in its 24-hour forecast.

Meanwhile, ahead of the World Tsunami Day on November 5, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Jr. is urging local government units (LGUs) to plan and prepare for it.

In a taped DOST report aired on Friday afternoon, Solidum said the Philippines was prone to tsunamis because of its archipelagic nature and had earthquake generators.

“Based on studies, there are about 10-14 million people living near the shores that may be hit if a tsunami happens,” he said.

A weather disturbance is classified as a tropical depression like Quinta when it packs winds of 61 kilometers per hour or less near the center, while a severe tropical storm such as Pepito is one that packs 81 to 117 kph near the center.

At 3 p.m. on Saturday, the center of Quinta was estimated at 635 kilometers east of Juban, Sorsogon with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 70 kph.

Meanwhile, Pepito was estimated outside the PAR at 860 km west of Northern Luzon with maximum sustained winds of 100 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 125 kph.

The frontal system is also expected to bring cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms over Batanes, Cagayan, including the Babuyan Islands, Apayao, and Ilocos Norte.

Flash floods and landslides are also possible.

Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers may prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms.

PAGASA said Quinta would move generally west-northwestward or northwestward this Saturday, then would turn westward on Sunday morning through Monday.

Quinta was expected to make landfall over the Bicol Region between Sunday evening and Monday morning, then track westward over the Southern Luzon area on Monday.

Sea travel will be risky over the said areas, especially for small seacraft.

Moderate to rough seas (1.5 to 2.5 m) will meanwhile prevail over the western seaboard of southern Palawan and the eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon.

Solidum said that in the last 400 years, all the tsunamis that happened in the country were locally-generated, wherein the public has no time to prepare as this kind of tsunami reaches the shore right away.

The strongest, he said, happened on August 17, 1976 during the magnitude 8.1 Moro Gulf earthquake that killed around 8,000 people.

The other type of tsunami or the distant tsunami that originates from a distant source would enable people to prepare at least one to 26 hours before it reaches the shore.

LGUs and the public need to prepare, Solidum emphasized.

One must remember the three signs that a tsunami is approaching: “Shake, Drop, and Roar”. This means that shaking or a strong earthquake would happen; a sudden drop of water would be noticeable, and an unusual sound or noise would be heard.

“These observations are very useful as these would provide a warning at the local level,” he said.

He urges the LGUs to download the HazardHunter app, as this would guide them about locations at risk for volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other hazards.

“They need to find areas that are safe to put the evacuation centers. The app would also guide them on which roads to take heading to the evacuation centers. The roads they should take must be roads that are safe and not prone to landslides,” he said.

Solidum added that the public must also prepare their Go-bags for such events.

Topics: flash floods , Tropical Depression Quinta , Philippine area of responsibility
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