Davao residents told to brace for ‘Odette’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Dec) – Residents in coastal barangays, including those residing in areas prone to flooding and landslide, have been alerted to brace for heavy rains due to Tropical Storm “Odette” (international name “Rai”), an official of the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) said.

Forecast of the path of Tropical Storm “Rai” / “Odette”

CDRRMC head Alfredo Baloran told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Tuesday that the Dabawenyos, particularly those living along the rivers, low-lying, and coastal areas, have been reminded to prepare for “impending hazards” due to the weather disturbances this week.

According to Tropical Cyclone Advisory issued at 11:00 a.m. by Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the center of the severe tropical storm was still outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), estimated at 1,165 kilometers east of Mindanao.

The state weather bureau said the storm is forecast to move west northwestward while gradually intensifying and enter PAR as a severe tropical storm on Wednesday afternoon or evening and make landfall in the vicinity of Caraga region or Eastern Visayas by Thursday afternoon or evening.

“This tropical cyclone is forecast to reach typhoon category on Wednesday. A pre-landfall peak intensity of around 155 km/h may be reached by Thursday morning or afternoon,” it said.

Although the city will not be directly hit by the storm, Baloran said the city needs to prepare because it will experience thunderstorms.

Authorities are monitoring the major rivers – including Davao, Lasang, and Bunawan – in the city.

“Just like what we experienced in the past years, we experienced flooding in Davao because of the heavy rainfall in Caraga region,” Baloran said.

He said barangay officials are expected to convene on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the local government’s disaster response efforts when “Odette” enters Mindanao.

PAGASA said there “is a high likelihood that Tropical Cyclone Wind Signals will be hoisted for Visayas, large portions of Mindanao, and several provinces in Southern Luzon due to the threat of strong to typhoon-force winds associated with the passage of ‘Rai’.”

It said that the highest possible wind signal that may be hoisted is tropical cyclone wind signal (TCWS No. 3) and localities in the eastern portions of Visayas and Mindanao may be placed under TCWS No. 1 as early as afternoon or evening on Wednesday.

PAGASA said Caraga and Davao Oriental are expected to experience light to moderate with at times heavy rains due to the trough of the tropical storm.

“The passage of this tropical cyclone over the central portion of the archipelago may bring heavy to torrential rainfall over Visayas, Mindanao, and several provinces in Southern Luzon, which may bring possible flooding and rain-induced landslides,” it said.

The weather bureau also warned “high waves near the coast and storm surge are also possible for low-lying localities near and along the path of the typhoon.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)