LEGAZPI CITY: The governors of the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur ordered the suspension of classes as a low pressure area (LPA) intensified into tropical depression Urduja on Wednesday.
The bad weather disturbance has caused intermittent heavy rainfall since Tuesday affecting the Bicol provinces.
Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara ordered the suspension of classes among preschool and elementary pupils on Wednesday in both private and public schools across the province.
He said the LPA east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur has developed into a tropical depression, quoting the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) report on Tuesday.
“In view of the continuous rainfall caused by the tail end of cold front and anticipated impact of tropical depression Urduja which is moving closer to Bicol region and for health reasons, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council orders the suspension of classes December 13, 2017 in the preschool and elementary levels provincewide in both private and public schools,” Bichara said in his directive.
He also ordered the no-sailing policy for small seacraft and fishing boats because of gale warming issued by Pagasa. The city and municipal disaster officials in 15 towns and three cities were directed to enforce the advisory in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Similarly, Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymond Villafuete also ordered the cancellation of classes in all levels in public and private schools on Wednesday as Urduja threatened the province. Camarines Sur is experiencing moderate to heavy downpour, which endangers communities from flooding and landslides.
“To ensure the safety of the populace in the entire province especially school children and students the provincial government is declaring a provincewide suspension of classes in all levels [public and private],” Villafuerte said.
Urduja has maintained its strength as it continuous to move in a north, northwest direction, according to Pagasa and warned that it may bring in moderate to heavy within the 350-kilometer (km) diameter of the tropical depression.
Scattered to widespread rains are expected over Visayas and Bicol Region within 24 hours. Fisherfolk and those with small seacraft are advised not to venture out over the eastern seaboard of the region, Eastern Visayas and Caraga region because of moderate to rough seas.
Pagasa said Urduja may intensify into a tropical storm within the next 36 hours.
At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, its center was estimated at 405 kms East of Guiuan, Eastern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometer per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph and is forecast to move North, Northwest at seven kph.
Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has alerted its regional offices for the heavy rainfalls, landslides and flashfloods to be brought by Urduja, which is expected to make a landfall on Friday evening or early Saturday morning.
Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, OCD administrator, said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has not yet raise the blue alert status in preparation for incoming typhoon.
with DEMPSEY REYES