Stormy Mother’s Day

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Storm signals up as ‘Dodong’ set to hit land today
It’s Mother’s Day today, but it seems like our not so dear “Dodong” is stealing the show.

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Three areas in Luzon —Cagayan, Isabela and northern Aurora —were placed on Saturday under storm signal No. 3 as Typhoon Dodong (Noul) drew near the nation’s eastern coast.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) called on those in the eastern section of Luzon to refrain from venturing outdoors on Saturday and Sunday they could be swamped by large waves as Typhoon “Dodong” (international name Noul) drew closer.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday “Dodong” was tracked moving west-northwest at a slower 18 kph although it maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph and gustiness of up to 195 kph.

The storm was located 350 east of Infanta, Quezon as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

Pagasa said storm surges may reach up to 2 meters high, especially off the eastern coast of Camarines Sur, Quezon, Isabela, and Cagayan.

Areas under Signal No. 2 include: Calayan and Babuyan Islands, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, rest of Aurora, Polillo Island, Catanduanes and Quirino while placed under Signal No. 1 include: Batanes, Abra, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar

Pagasa said “Dodong” is likely to make landfall over Isabela and Cagayan early Sunday and is likely to exit the landmass via Aparri, Cagayan on Sunday afternoon, then exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Monday evening.

“It is advised to refrain from outdoor activities particularly along beaches of the eastern section of Luzon starting today (Saturday) until tomorrow (Sunday),” Pagasa said in its 11 a.m. advisory.

The typhoon is set to smash into a small cluster of coastal towns in Luzon early Sunday bringing with it maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers an hour, the state weather service said.

“Our advice is for people on the eastern seaboard to avoid outdoor activities,” state weather forecaster Fernando Cada said, while adding there was a possibility the typhoon could weaken as it nears land.

Storm surges — tsunami-like waves generated by powerful typhoons — that could reach 8.2 feet in height are forecast in Isabela province and two other areas of Luzon, he added.

He said heavy rain that could trigger floods and landslides was also forecast near the eye of the storm, which is forecast to veer northeast towards southern Taiwan after running into Luzon’s mountain ranges.

The coast guard said it has shut down ferry services on the threatened areas, leaving nearly 6,000 commuters stranded at ports according to a tally by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Several hundred people living at a farming hamlet below the restive Bulusan volcano in Sorsogon province were also evacuated Friday due to the potential threat of mudflows from accumulated ash deposits on its slopes.

Apart from people in the Bulusan area, no one else has been evacuated from areas threatened by “Dodong,” civil defense officials in these regions said.

“These people are trained to leave on short notice,” Norma Talosig, civil defense chief for the northeastern Philippines told AFP.

Over the next few hours, municipal mayors in these areas will decide whether evacuations are necessary, the state weather forecaster added.

Malacañang meanwhile gave assurances that national government agencies are fully coordinating with local government units in preparing for the onslaught of typhoon “Dodong”.

“Our national government agencies are conducting full coordination with our local governments because the advice to them really was to ensure that they are ready and are monitoring the typhoon’s track through Pagasa,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

WITH REINA TOLENTINO, AFP AND PNA

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