MONKAYO, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/13 Nov) – Tropical depression Zoraida made landfall in Baganga town, Davao Oriental as supertyphoon Pablo did on December 4, 2012 but unlike Pablo whose winds were thrice stronger, Zoraida’s arrival at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Barangay Baculin was hardly noticed.
“Antay pa namin. Wala pa” (We’re still waiting. Not yet here), Lt. Col. Krishnamurti Mortela, commander of the 67th Infantry Battalion based in Baganga, said in a text message at 9:58 a.m. Tuesday.
Two hours later, Mortela said, “mukhang tapos na. Di masyadong naramdaman. May malakas na ulan kaninang madaling araw kaya mukhang yun na” (It’s likely over. We hardly felt it. There was heavy rain early morning but that’s it).
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon told MindaNews that Zoraida made landfall in the boundary of Barangay Baculin, Baganga, and Caraga town. “Not the same path as Pablo,” she said.
“Prayers really helped,” she added.
But rains since Monday prompted local government units to impose preemptive evacuation in flood-prone and landslide-prone areas. Mortela said some 740 families in the coastal towns of Davao Oriental were evacuated Monday night.
In Compostela Valley, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reducation and Management Council (PDRRMC) reported a total of 562 families evacuated to safer grounds: 369 in Mabini town when the Cabuyoan and Tabalaoabo rivers overflowed; 39 families in Nabunturan, 55 in Monkayo, 80 in New Bataan, and 19 in Montevista town.
A landslide was reported in Purok 16 in Barangay Mt. Diwata but barangay secretary Jojo Diosana said no casualties were reported.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Adminsitration (PAGASA) had earlier said Zoraida, which packed maximum winds of 55 kph and was moving at 30 kph west northwest, was going to make landfall in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
When Pablo made landfall in Baganga early morning of December 4, 2012, it packed maximum winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph while Yolanda which made six landfalls in the Visayas and Palawan on Friday, November 8, packed maximum winds of 235 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 275 kph.
According to Weather Bulletin Number Seven, issued at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Zoraida had “weakened into a low pressure area.”
It said that as of 2 p.m., Zoraida was in the vicinity of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur or at 40 km west northwest of Hintuan, Surigao del Sur.
“All Public Storm Warning Signals are now lifted,” the Bulletin said, but added that moderate to heavy rainshowers are observed over Central and Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao and are “expected to persist for the next six to 12 hours.”
Light to moderate rainshowers were also “expected to persist over the rest of Visayas and Mindanao.
Early Tuesday morning, public storm warning signal number 1 was raised over 17 of 26 Mindanao provinces: 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 were Siquijor, Southern Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental. Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras and in Luzon, Cuyo Island, Northern Palawan and the Calamian Group.
Classes were suspended in all levels in Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, as well as the regions of Caraga and Northern Mindanao. Classes in all levels in Davao del Sur and Davao City which were not placed under Signal 1, were also suspended. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)