• LPA brings downpour, forces evacuation in Compostela

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    THOUGH not yet a storm, the low pressure area (LPA) that hit wide areas of Mindanao on Friday caused flooding, landslides, and cancellation of flights, with Compostela Valley province resorting to evacuation.

    According to reports of ABS-CBN online, three days of incessant rains from the LPA affected Mindanao causing landslide in Carmen town, Agusan del Norte on Friday evening.

    Authorities in Compostela Valley ordered preemptive evacuation in Brgy. Magsaysay in Nabunturan, Brgy. Kidawa in Laak, and Purok 5 in Mt. Diwata in anticipation of floods from the approaching LPA near Mindanao.

    The LPA, which was last spotted 680 kilometers east of General Santos City, has a low chance of intensifying into a tropical cyclone, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecaster Glaiza Escullar said.

    Meanwhile, around 36 domestic flights of Cebu Pacific, PAL Express and Zest Air were cancelled on Saturday due to bad weather, the Manila International Airport Authority said.

    Cebu Pacific on the other hand advised its passengers to rebook their flights.

    Flights affected by the bad weather are: Manila to Tagbilaran and back;  Manila-Cagayan-Manila, Manila-Ozamis-Manila, Mnaila-Butuan-Manila, Manila-Dumaguete-Manila, and Manila-Dipolog-Manila.

    Pagasa for their part said that while the LPA is not expected to develop into a strong storm because of the northeast monsoon (amihan), it will be locally named as “Agaton,” if it intensifies, making it the first tropical cyclone in country this year.

    Pagasa however refuted claims that the LPA will develop into a storm stronger than Yolanda.

    Meanwhile, the weather bureau advised residents to be on alert for flashfloods and landslides as the LPA continues to bring moderate to heavy rains over the regions of CARAGA and Davao.

    The Visayas and the rest of Mindanao will also experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains. In the areas of Luzon, it will be affected by northeast monsoon.

    The Cagayan Valley and Aurora will have light rains, while Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have isolated rains or thunderstorms. The Northeast monsoon will continue to bring cold weather to Metro Manila until the end of February.

    However, a lane in Purok Mabuhay, Barangay Tagcatong was closed the whole night when a portion of the solid footing soil from a nearby hill collapsed. No one was injured in the incident.

    Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Maintenance Division chief Marieta Castro said they are now surveying the area to assess if removing the large mass of rocks and earth blocking the road would trigger further landslides.

    DPWH personnel also placed temporary road signs to assist motorists along the Cagayan-Butuan National Highway.

    The local city disaster risk reduction office in Butuan is likewise closely monitoring the water level of Agusan River. As of 9 a.m.
    Saturday, the water level is at 1.7 meters above sea level, which is still below the 2-meter critical level.

    With reports from  Benjie Vergara  and ABS-CBN online

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