By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
As typhoon “Gorio” (international name “Nesat”) left the country’s area of responsibility, another cyclone with local name “Huaning” (international name “Haitang”) has entered the vicinity and directly affected parts of northern Luzon Sunday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Gorio left the country’s area of responsibility Sunday morning, and lifted the tropical cyclone warning signal earlier raised over Batanes.
But a few hours after Gorio left, tropical storm Huaning entered the vicinity around 8 a.m. Sunday, prompting the PAGASA to raise anew tropical cyclone warning Signal No. 1 over Batanes, Ilocos Norte, Babuyan group of islands, and northwestern part of Cagayan.
By 5 p.m., Huaning was estimated at 185 kilometers (km) northwest of Basco, Batanes, with maximum sustained winds of 80 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 110 kph.
PAGASA does not expect Huaning to make landfall over any part of the Philippines, as it is on its way towards the southern part of Taiwan Sunday afternoon.
However, Huaning will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon or habagat, which will bring moderate to occasional heavy rains over the western section of Central and Northern Luzon.
Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will be experienced over the rest of Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley, while partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorm will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
PAGASA weather forecaster Gener Quitlong warned residents in these areas of possible floods and landslides as the ground is already saturated by continuous rains in the last couple of days.
He also advised small sea vessels of risky sea travel over the coasts of Northern Luzon, and western seaboard of Central Luzon.
Should it maintain its northward track at 24 kph, Huaning will be outside the country’s area of responsibility by this morning.
While Gorio was exiting the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), Baguio City and other parts in the Cordillera region continued to experience heavy rains and strong winds, with most of these areas experiencing on-and-off power interruptions.
The Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) reported that two houses were partly damaged in Sitio Kayang, Barangay Poblacion, Buguias, Benguet and in Barangay Pinget, Baguio City.
The RDRRMC also reported the evacuation of 14 families (or 59 persons) from landslide-prone areas in the towns of Buguias, Bakun and Tublay in Benguet and Tadian in Mountain Province.
It also advised all motorists to avoid Kennon Road because of its open-close traffic situation due to landslides occurring since Friday. It said Marcos Highway was a safer route in and out of Batuio City.
Trekking activities in Mt. Pulag and Mt. Purgatory, as well as other mountains in Upper Agno River Basin Forest reserve and caving and spelunking activities in Sagada Caves, Mountain Province were suspended due to inclement weather.
Region 1 roads
In Region 1, all national roads and bridges were passable to all types of vehicles except the Luna-Bangar Road in La Union and the washed-out detour of Atabay Bridge on Santa Lucia-Salcedo Road, Ilocos Sur.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region 1 said the Luna-Bangar Road was knee-deep flood water and advised motorists to use the Luna-Balaoan and Bangar- Balaoan Road instead.
Meanwhile, the San Fernando City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) team said clearing operations were already being conducted on the destroyed road riprap in Barangay Bungro as a result of a landslide.
Two houses were destroyed and a number of trees fallen by due to the landslide in the middle of heavy rains. Luckily, there were no casualties.
The La Union Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) reported that about 111 families of 488 personalities were pre-emptively evacuated in San Fernando City and the towns of Bacnotan, Balaoan, Bauang, and Aringay.
In San Fernando City, the PDRRMC reported 50 families of 256 persons living along the coastline evacuated at San Agustin Elementary School, Barangay San Agustin.
Rainy day reminders
For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) issued a public advisory on what to do in times of typhoons to lessen the risks of diseases.
First, the DOH noted the importance of clean and safe water. “Water is a necessity in our daily existence. Make sure drinking water is from a safe and reliable source,” it stated.
“When in doubt, it is a must to wait for two minutes or longer when the water reaches a rolling boil, or chlorinate drinking water to make it safe,” it added.
Second, the DOH underscored the need for clean and safe food. “Food, same as water, is equally important to sustain us healthy and active,” it said.
“Remember that food should be well-cooked, leftovers should be covered and kept away from household pests, and food waste should be disposed properly,” it noted.
A third reminder from the DOH is to stay dry and warm and maintain proper hygiene.
“Keep yourself dry and warm, especially during the cold weather. Always wash your hands before and after eating, and using the toilet; when sick, consult a doctor or go to the nearest health facility at once if you, or any household member, have any sign or symptom of infection,” the DOH stated. (With reports from Zaldy C. Comanda, Liezle Basa Iñigo, Erwin G. Beleo, and Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce)