By NITZ ARANCON
THE state weather bureau yesterday forecast tropical storm “Basyang” to move across northern Mindanao today, hours after making a landfall in Caraga.
Jose Frivaldo, a weather specialist at the Philippine Astronomical, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental, said Region 10 could expect heavy rains in the morning, afternoon and evening as Basyang tracks towards Zamboanga del Norte from Caraga.
Frivaldo warned about the likelihood of floodings and landslides in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.
Basyang maintained its strength but slowed down as its threatened Mindanao.
The tropical threat, which turned into a storm on Sunday afternoon, is seen to bring eight to 12 inches of rainfall up to early Wednesday. The biggest threat it poses is rain that could result in floodings and landslides.
City hall and the capitol raised the alert levels.
Alan Porcadilla, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Department, said the local emergency operations center and the incident management team has been activated as early as yesterday in anticipation of floodings and landslides especially when Basyang traverses the region today.
In Misamis Oriental, the Provincial Risk Reduction Management Office raised the alert level to “yellow” in flood-prone areas. The color code means resident should prepare for evacuation.
The capitol suspended some classes in public schools in Opol, Gitagum, Libertad, Initao and Lagonglong, among others.
Nicole Managbanag, capitol spokesperson, said provincial disaster risk reduction management officer Fernando Dy ordered his team to go on red alert mode yesterday afternoon.
Managbanag said the capitol would be monitoring the weather and the situation across Misamis Oriental 24 hours a day.
As of 11 am yesterday, Pagasa said Surigao del Sur was still under Storm Signal no. 2. It means winds of 61-120 kilometers per hour are expected within 24 hours and storm surges reaching 4.1-14 meters at coastal areas.
Fourteen other Mindanao provinces were under Storm Signal No. 1: Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Camiguin, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon and the northern part of Zamboanga del Norte.
These areas could see a wave height of 1.25 to four meters.
Pagasa said Caraga, northern Mindanao, Davao region, Zamboanga Peninsula, Eastern Visayas, central Visayas, would likely continue to experience scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains even as it cautioned people about possible floodings and landslides.
As of noon time yesterday, the following areas in the Visayas were placed under Storm Signal no. 1: southern part of Samar, southern part of Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
Basyang is expected to make landfall in Caraga this morning.
Pagasa said Basyang was moving west northwest at 22 kilometers per hour from the previous 25 kilometers per hour when it was 570 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, as of 2 pm yesterday.
The state weather bureau said it continued to pack maximum winds of 65 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 80 kilometers per hour.
It is forecast to be 115 kilometers east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur this morning, 60 kilometers west southwest of Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental by tomorrow morning, 65 kilometers west northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan by Thursday morning, 95 kilometers northeast of Pagasa Island, Palawan, and 160 kilometers northwest of Pagasa Island, Palawan by Saturday morning.
Scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains started to prevail over the eastern section of Visayas and of Mindanao yesterday.
Pagasa called on people living in the threatened areas to continue monitoring for updates, undertake precautionary measures against possible flooding and landslides, and coordinate with their respective local disaster risk reduction and management offices.
The weather bureau also warned of risky travel over the seaboards of northern Luzon, eastern seaboards of central and southern Luzon, eastern Visayas and other areas under signal due to the storm and the surge of the northeast monsoon. (with mindanews and pna)