DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 January) — The weather bureau has warned of widespread rains over Eastern and Southern Mindanao that may trigger flashfloods and landslides due to a low pressure area (LPA) east southeast of General Santos City.
In its weather forecast issued at 5 a.m. January 2, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that at 2 a.m., a low pressure area (LPA) was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 1,000 km east of Southern mindanao (5.1°n, 134.5°e) while a northeast monsoon is affecting Northern luzon.
“Visayas and Mindanao will have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms becoming cloudy with widespread rains over Eastern and Southern Mindanao which may trigger flashfloods and landslides. Eastern Luzon will experience mostly cloudy skies with rains. The rest of Luzon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with light rains,” the forecast says.
At 10 a.m. January 2, PAGASA’s Weather Advisory 3 announced that at 8 a.m. the LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 860 km East of General Santos City (5.8°N, 133.0°E)” while wind convergence is affecting Eastern Visayas.
“These weather systems will bring mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms over Visayas and Mindanao becoming cloudy with widespread rains over Eastern and Southern Mindanao which may trigger flashfloods and landslides,” it said.
In its weather forecast issued at 5 p.m. January 2, PAGASA said that at 2 p.m. the LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 740 km east of General Santos City (5.1°N,132.0 °E).”
In Sarangani province, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) has passed on to its seven municipal DRRMCs this information through text message: “All DRRMC: Stdby 4 a cyclone warning fm PAGASA ds am. LPA wch s likely 2 bcome a cyclone s approaching southeastern Mindanao.”
But the Tropical Cyclone Update in PAGASA’s website January 2 states that “as of today, there is no tropical cyclone existing within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).”
PDRRMC chief Ben Solarte told MindaNews the message he forwarded to the municipal DRMMCs came from the provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) which was also forwarded by the DILG national office.
Solarte said it was the first time the DILG sent a weather advisory to them. He said the DILG likely wants everyone prepared to avoid a repeat of what happened in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities. Typhoon Sendong struck the two cities, leaving at least a thousand persons dead and thousands of families homeless. Storm signal number 2 was raised over these areas by 11 p.m. on December 15.
Solarte said his office sends daily weather advisories to the towns based on PAGASA advisories. He acknowledged that PAGASA’s website said nothing about a coming cyclone.
Except for Malungon town, the rest of Sarangani’s towns are coastal: Alabel, Maasim, Maitum, Kiamba, Malapatan and Glan.
Sarangani Information Officer Serafin Ramos, Jr. said the province has been monitoring the weather since December 31 when the first weather advisory on the LPA was issued by PAGASA.
“It’s fair weather here at the Capitol. Sunny, in fact. Even the sea has been very calm since December 31,” Ramos told MindaNews at 9:30 a.m. January 2.
In its Weather Advisory 1 on the LPA issued at 10 a.m. on December 31, PAGASA said an LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data “at 490 km East Southeast of General Santos City (5.3°N, 129.5°E)” at 8 a.m.
In its Weather Advisory 2 issued at 10 a.m. on January 1, PAGASA said an LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data “at 410 km East Southeast of General Santos City (5.0°N, 129.0°E)” at 8 a.m.
PAGASA’s weather forecast issued at 5 a.m. on January 2 said the LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 1000 km east of Southern Mindanao (5.1°n, 134.5°e) at 2 a.m. while a northeast monsoon is affecting Northern Luzon.
Weather Advisory 3 issued at 10 a.m. January 2 said the LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data at “860 km East of General Santos City (5.8°N, 133.0°E)” at 8 a,.m.
Last week, another LPA was also announced by PAGASA, at 100 km east of General Santos City at 2 p.m. on December 25 and 120 kms southwest of Cotabato City at 2 pm on December 26.
There was no report of flashfloods in General Santos City and neighboring areas. But the NDRRMC reported a landslide in Luhan River, six kilometers by aerial distance, downstream from Lake Holon, Sitio Basag, Brgy Salacafe, T’boli, South Cotabato “due to continuous rains and natural damming of 10 feet in height and 180 feet in width” but there was no report of casualties or evacuations.
But flashfloods occurred in some other parts of Mindanao, the worst in Valencia City in Bukidnon on December 27, with 1,150 families displaced. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)