By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Typhoon “Ompong” (international name “Mangkhut), which entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) at 3 p.m. Wednesday, is expected to make a landfall at the northern tip of Cagayan in the early morning of Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Wednesday.
The state weather bureau advised the public to brace for heavy rains and strong winds, which maytrigger landslides, flashfloods, and storm surge.
Tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1 has already been raised over Catanduanes as Ompong continues to threaten Northern Luzon. The province will experience winds of 30-60 kilometers per hour (kph)or intermittent rains in the next 36 hours.
In its 6 p.m. bulletin, PAGASA said the eye of Ompong, which has a diameter of 900 kilometers,was located 1,145 km east of Virac, Catanduanes, with sustained winds of 205 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 255 kph.
It was moving west at 20 kph.
Today, Thursday, Ompong is expected to be 820 km east of Daet, Camarines Norte.
PAGASA weather specialist Gener Quitlong said signal No. 1 may be raised over Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur today, Sept. 13.
Based on PAGASA’s weather system, areas placed under signal No. 1 will experience very light or no damage to high risk structures, light to medium damage to low risk structures, and slight damage to some houses made of very light materials or makeshift structures in exposed communities.
Friday afternoon, Ompong is expected to be 450 km northeast of Daet.
PAGASA warned that heavy to intense rains, very strong winds, and storm surges over coastal areas in Northern Luzon, particularly in Cagayan and Isabela, are possible by Friday and Saturday.
The state weather bureau added that storm surge of up to 7 meters is possible in the coast of Cagayan and Isabela.
While the effect of Ompong will not be immediately felt, PAGASA said it will start enhancing the southwest monsoon or “habagat” that will bring occasional moderate to heavy rains in Palawan, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Siquijor, SurigaodelNorte, Agusan Del Norte, Dinagat Island, and Lanao del Sur.
The trough of Ompong and the enhanced southwest monsoon will also bring cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms in Palawan, Bicol Region, and parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
While partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms.
Starting Friday, parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, may experience light to moderate rains with chances of occasional heavy rains with occasional gusty winds.
PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano said there is a possibility that Ompongmay reach the super-typhoon category.
Based on the bureau’s tropical cyclone classification system, a super typhoon has a maximum wind speed exceeding 220 kilometers per hour or more than 120 knots.
But the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), AccuWeather, and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) have already classified Mangkhut as a super typhoon.
JTWC said Mangkhut has sustained winds of 278 kph and gustiness of up to 333 kph.
Based on HKO tropical cyclone classification, a super typhoon has a maximum 10-minute mean wind near the center of up to 185 kph or above.
AccWeather, meanwhile, said Mangkhut reached super-typhoon status Tuesday evening while churning in the Pacific Ocean.
Malano warned the public that even if Ompongwill not reach the super-typhoon category, its impact will still be strong and potentially damaging.
He explained that the strong winds of Ompongmay cause damage to some houses made of very light materials and expect that many trees will be uprooted while many electrical posts will be toppled.
Meanwhile, the Hydrological Division of PAGASA said it is now monitoring river basins in Luzon that will be affected by Ompong including Abulug, Abra, Cagayan, Pampanga, Agno, and Pasig-Marikina.
Water levels among dams in Luzon are also being observed by PAGASA if they are about to reach the spilling levels.
The state weather bureau advised the public and the disaster risk reduction and management councils concerned to monitor updates on the weather disturbance.
Due to inclement weather, several localities have already suspended classes starting tomorrow, September 13, to Saturday, Sept. 15.
The Cagayan provincial government announced in its Facebook page the suspension of classes in all levels, public and private, from September 13 to 15. It also suspended work in the private sector and government offices, except frontline agencies, on Sept. 14 and 15.
Gov. MigzVillafuerte, in his Facebook page, announced the suspension of classes in all levels, public and private, on September 13 and 14.
Likewise, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista declared the suspension of classes in all levels, public and private, on September 14 and 15.
No classes on Friday
Albay and Sorsogon in Bicol;Candelaria, Quezon;Marilao, Meycauayan, and Obando inBulacan;Apalit and Samuan, Pampanga; Aringay, Balaoan, Bangar, and Sudipen in La Union; and Bamban, Tarlac also suspended classes in all levels, private and public, today, Sept. 13.
Other class suspensions
• Sept. 13 and 14, all levels (public and private): Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin in Pampanga; Zambales, except Olongapo City; Maasin, Leyte; IlocosNorte; Ilocos Sur; Naguilian and San Juan in La Union; and Abra.
• Sept. 13 to 15, all levels (public and private): Arayat and Sta. Rita in Pampanga; Bauang, Caba, San Fernando, and San Gabriel in La Union; and Dagupan City, Pangasinan
• Sept. 13 to 16, all levels (public and private): Apayao
• Sept. 14 and 15, all levels (public and private): Agoo, La Union