UPDATED: Storm signal 1 raised over 17 of 26 Mindanao provinces

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 Nov) – Public storm warning signal number 1 has been raised over 17 of 26 Mindanao provinces as tropical depression Zoraida is about to make landfall Tuesday morning.

Monday’s reports from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Zoraida was expected to make landfall in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur but PAGASA forecaster Jun Galang told radio station DXBB in Manila early Tuesday morning that Zoraida’s expected landfall is between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. over the Davao region.

Super typhoon Pablo was expected to make landfall in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur on December 4, 2012 but instead landed in Baganga, Davao Oriental.

In Butuan City, Lolita Vinalay, chief meteorological officer of the PAGASA station there, told MindaNews late Monday that there is a greater possibility that Zoraida would follow the path previously made by Pablo.

“As of the latest forecast update this afternoon, the tropical depression will make landfall between Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental, specifically between the towns of Lingig and Cateel at around 2:00 in the afternoon of November 12. Although they might have the same path, Zoraida won’t be carrying the same force as that of Pablo,” she said.

According to PAGASA’s Weather Bulletin 5 issued at 5 a.m. Tuesday, as of 4 a.m. Zoraida was spotted at 216 km Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur or at 192 km East of Davao City, with the same maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and moving 30 kph west northwest. Pablo packed maximum sustained winds of 175 kph during its landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental last year.

Classes suspended

Classes have been suspended in all levels in Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, as well as the regions of Caraga and Northern Mindanao. Even Classes in all levels in Davao del Sur, Davao City and Misamis Oriental where Public Storm Warning Signal 1 has not been raised, have also been suspended.

In Bukidnon’s capital, Malaybalay City Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri suspended classes up to high school, according to Allan Comiso, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations chief.

Zubiri’s declaration issued on Monday only covered classes for pre-schools, but on Tuesday morning he has included classes for elementary and high school levels.

In neighboring Valencia City, Vice Mayor and acting mayor Azucena Huervas has also declared a suspension of classes up to the high school level starting on Monday.

Light to moderate rains were observed in downtown Malaybalay City since yesterday.

Residents in low lying areas and near mountain slopes have been against possible flashfloods and landslides and preemptive evacuations have been ordered in the areas where Signal 1 has been raised.

PAGASA has estimated moderate to heavy rains with rainfall amount at 5 to 15 mm per hour within Zoraida’s 300 km diameter.

On Monday morning, only seven Mindanao provinces were under Signal 1 but four more provinces were added to the list by afternoon, three more by evening and another three by early Tuesday.

Signal Number 1 was raised over Dinagat Island, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte, including Siargao Island in the Caraga Region; in the Davao region’s Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte inclusive of Samal Island and Compostela Valley; in Northern Mindanao region’s Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte and Camiguin; and Lanao del Sur in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; North Cotabato in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao; and Zamboanga del Sur and northern Zamboanga del Norte in the Zamboanga or Western Mindanao region.

In the Visayas, the areas listed under Signal 1 are Siquijor, Southern Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental. Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras and in Luzon, Cuyo Island, Northern Palawan and the Calamian Group.

Work suspended

Aside from suspending classes in Compostela Valley, Governor Arturo Uy has ordered suspension of work in both public and private offices in the province.

Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental were the hardest hit provinces when super typhoon Pablo battered eastern Mindanao on December 4, 2012.

Last Friday, storm warning signal 4 was raised over Dinagat province and Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte. Storm warning signals of a lesser degree was hoisted over Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Camiguin and Misamis Oriental.

No signal was also raised over Compostela Valley in relation to super typhoon Yolanda but Compostela Governor Arturo Uy suspended classes and small-scale mining operations on November 7 and 8.

According to PAGASA, public storm warning signal 1 means 30-60 kph winds are expected within the next 36 hours. The impact of the winds are: “Twigs and branches of small trees may be broken; Some banana plants may be tilted or uprooted; Some houses of very light materials may be partially unroofed; Only very light or no damage may be sustained by areas affected; and Rice crops in flowering stage may suffer significant damage.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas and Erwin Mascarinas , with reports from Walter Balane and Froilan Galardo/ MindaNews)