Residents of the Visayas and Mindanao were told on Friday to prepare for possible onslaught of tropical storm Onyok, which is expected to make landfall in the evening and press on to Mindanao over the weekend.
Onyok is expected to make landfall in Davao Oriental on Friday night before it weakens into a Low Pressure Area (LPA) upon landfall, the state weather bureau Pagasa said in its 5 p.m. weather bulletin.
It is believed to be derived from the nickname of 1996 Filipino Olympic light-flyweight silver medalist Mansueto Velasco.
The name was among the entries in a nationwide call for submission of local names by Pagasa.
The new set of local names took effect in 2010.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said rainfall from Onyok is expected to be heavy to intense within the cyclone’s 100 km radius.
“There will be rain within 100 kilometers of the eastern side of Mindanao, as well as south of Hinatuan up to Davao Oriental,” Pagasa acting administrator Vicente Malano explained.
A total of 237 towns in eight regions are expected to receive more than or equal to 100 millimeters of rain that may trigger flashfloods or landslides, including those subject to convergence of the northeastern monsoon and easterlies.
Weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said Onyok was located at 210 kilometers east of Mati City (Davao Oriental) as of 4 p.m. on Friday.
Aurelio added that the storm’s strength slightly weakened from 55 kilometers per hour to 45 kph.
He said Onyok continued to move westward but slightly decelerated from 20 kph to 18 kph.
If it maintains its speed and movement, it is expected to make landfall over Davao Oriental between 8 and 10 p.m. also on Friday.
Onyok was forecast to be at 50 kilometers southwest of Zamboanga City by Saturday afternoon.
Public storm warning signal No. 1 is up over Surigao del Sur, including Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Davao del Sur, Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas of the provinces with storm warning signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides.
The estimated rainfall amount is from heavy to intense within the storm’s 150-kilometer diameter.
Aurelio said that because of the presence of the northeast monsoon from the Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas and the province of Quezon will experience moderate to heavy rains, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.
He noted that sea travel was risky over the seaboards of Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Visayas because of big waves generated by the surge of the northeast monsoon.
In the next 24-hour forecast, Pagasa said rains with gusty winds were expected over Caraga, Davao and Northern Mindanao. Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms will be experienced over Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
As Onyok moves closer to the country, government agencies are implementing precautionary measures to prepare for the cyclone, Malacañang said also on Friday.
According to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., the government is doing everything to mitigate effects of any calamity that may be caused by Onyok.
More than 400 passengers were stranded in Cebu ports also on Friday after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) barred seven vessels from leaving because of Onyok and the gale warning raised over Eastern Visayas.
PCG Cebu Station commander Agapito Bibat said the vessels were bound for some provinces in Mindanao and Ormoc City in Leyte.
But Bibat added that only 59 of the stranded passengers remained at Terminal 1 of the Cebu City port because most passengers decided to refund their tickets and went home.
He said the grounded vessels that were supposed to be going to Mindanao were the MV Filipinas Dumaguete bound for Surigao City, MV Filipinas Iligan for Ozamis City and Iligan City, MV Filipinas Butuan for Nasipit in Agusan del Norte, MV Trans Asia 10 for Cagayan de Oro City and MV Trans Asia 8 for Iligan City.
These areas were still under storm signal No. 1 because of Onyok,.
Bibat said they have to ground vessels below 250 gross tons bound for Ormoc because the weather bureau also issued a gale warning over the eastern seaboard of Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas also on Friday.
Those grounded were the MV Wesam Express 7 for Ormoc City and passenger motorbanca CA Christopher from Pulangbato Wharf in Bogo City, Cebu bound for Ormoc City.