By MB Online
Intense rains and strong winds brought by typhoon “Ompong” started to be felt in Cagayan and Isabela provinces late Friday night, hours before the strongest tropical cyclone of the year was expected to make landfall somewhere in Cagayan before dawn Saturday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced that as of 11 p.m. Friday it has raised Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 4 in five areas.
These are the province of Cagayan, the Babuyan Group of Islands, northern Isabela, Apayao, Abra, where Ompong’s strongest winds of over 171 kilometers per hour (kph) were expected in 12 the next hours.
Storm Signal No. 3 was raised in Batanes, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Northern Aurora, and Southern Isabela, where winds between 121 kph and 170 kph will be experienced.
Dr. Landrico Dalida Jr. of PAGASA warned of a serious threat to Cagayan as Ompong has maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 205 kph and gustiness of up to 255 kph.
Based on the Daet radar and other available data, PAGASA located typhoon Ompong at 190 km east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan as of 11 p.m.
PAGASA also said it is now more certain that the typhoon will make landfall in Cagayan province between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Saturday as it moves west-northwest at 30 kph.
It is unlikely to further intensify into a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 220 kph near the center.
Meanwhile, Signal No. 2 has been raised in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, southern Aurora, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, and northern Quezon, including Polillo Island.
Signal No. 1 was raised in Metro Manila, Bataan, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, the rest of Quezon, Lubang Island, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, and Burias Island.
No more typhoon signals are raised in Sorsogon and Masbate.
PAGASA said Ompong is expected to barrel across the northern tip of Luzon, including Cagayan, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra, and Ilocos Norte, where it is expected to exit the landmass later Saturday or early Sunday.
PAGASA also said that a storm surge of between 3 meters and 6 meters may be expected in the coastal towns of Cagayan, especially in Aparri, Buguey, Gonzaga, and Sta. Ana.
In the Ilocos provinces, a storm surge with the height of 2-3 meters may slam the coastal communities. Meanwhile, Isabela may also be hit by a storm surge, particularly in Divalacan, Palanan and Dinapigue, with a height of 1-2 meters.