DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 02 January) — Tropical depression ‘Agaton’ made landfall over Dinagat-Siargao islands in Mindanao before 1 a.m. on Tuesday and was monitored over southern Negros Oriental in the Visayas as of 8 a.m.
Storm signal 1 over Mindanao has been lifted as of 8 a.m. As ‘Agaton’ was approaching Monday, Signal 1 was raised over 16 Mindanao provinces and their 23 cities.
But the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in its Severe Weather Bulletin 6A issued at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday said scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains are expected over Visayas and over Mindanao’s Misamis Occidental, Dipolog City, northern Zamboanga del Norte and Palawan.
Residents of these areas “must undertake precautionary measures against possible flooding and landslides” and coordinate with their respective local disaster risk reduction and management councils, PAGASA said.
Sea travel is risky over the areas under Signal 1 (Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Guimaras, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Southern Antique and Southern Iloilo) and seaboards of Northern Luzon and Southern Luzon, eastern seaboard of Central Luzon, and eastern and western seaboard of Visayas and eastern seaboard of Mindanao due to the surge of the Northeast Monsoon, the weather advisory said.
As of 8 a.m., ‘Agaton’s’ center was estimated at the vicinity of Bais City in Negors Oriental, packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph and was forecast to move west at 25 kph.
By Wednesday morning, ‘Agaton’ is estimated to be 45 km east southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and by Thursday morning, 150 km west northwest of Pagasa Island, Palawan, outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility.
In Misamis Oriental, the Talisayan municipal government implemented preventive evacuation involving 41 families Monday night.
Allan Porcadilla, department chief at the Cagayan de Oro Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office on Monday night said they were expecting ‘Agaton’ to dump more than 20.9 millimeters of rain in 24 hours.
“We expect floods in our streets and some landslides in our hinterland villages,” Porcadilla said, but quickly added that a repetition of the flash floods triggered by tropical storm ‘Vinta’ on December 22 is “highly unlikely” with ‘Agaton.’
He said “Vinta” dumped 46 millimeters of rain in just four hours, causing Cagayan de Oro River to burst from its banks and flooding 22 barangays last December 22.
Porcadilla said despite the raging flood waters, Cagayan de Oro did not have a single casualty as preemptive measures were undertaken.
‘Vinta’ left with a high death toll: 214 in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte and 101 missing. (Carolyn O. Arguillas and Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)