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MANILA, Philippines – Weather bureau PAGASA advised Luzon residents to brace for more strong winds, heavy rain and storm surges tonight due to the combined effects of Typhoon Pedring and the Southwest Monsoon.
In a press briefing by disaster officials, PAGASA Administrator Nathaniel Servando said the center of Pedring (international name Nesat) is out of the Philippine land mass but it will continue to affect Luzon. “Malawak pa rin ang sakop ni Pedring kaya (Pedring still covers a wide area that’s why) we are experiencing gustiness, precipitation.”
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) put the death toll from Pedring at 16 as of Tuesday night. The fatalities include three children and a woman pinned under a collapsed wall in Valenzuela.
Over 64,000 persons have been affected by Pedring, with more than 4,000 families forced to flee their homes.
As of 11pm, PAGASA said Pedring maintained its strength and continues to move west northwest. It is packing maximum winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.
Power distributor Meralco said 1.9 million households experienced power interruptions.
Pedring is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Wednesday afternoon, September 28.
Malacañang said classes and work in government offices will resume Wednesday except in affected areas or those where local governments and school officials announced otherwise.
Signals, dams, floods
As of Tuesday, 11pm, Storm signal number 2 is up over La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Tarlac, Benguet and Ilocos Sur.
Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga, Abra, Ilocos Norte, Quirino and Bulacan are under storm signal number 1.
Due to heavy rain, authorities have started opening the gates of 5 dams in Luzon to release water: Ipo, Ambuklao, Binga, Magat and Angat.
Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said local officials informed residents near the dams about the release of the water to avoid casualties.
As for floods, NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos said waters are knee deep in Magkakaisa St. Malibay in Pasay; waist deep in San Lorenzo and Almazor streets in Maricaban, Pasay; and thigh deep in Roxas Boulevard in Manila on Tuesday.
Travel still dangerous
While Pedring is set to leave the Philippines in less than 24 hours, Ramos still discouraged people from traveling. “Air, sea, and land travel over Luzon and Visayas are still very dangerous.”
Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr. urged the public to heed the instructions of government, especially local officials. Ochoa is overseeing the disaster response to Pedring while President Benigno Aquino III is on a working visit to Japan.
Ochoa said the president is monitoring the situation from Tokyo and ordered his officials to take charge of rescue and relief efforts. “He wants us to assure the public government is doing whatever it can, whatever it takes …. We have long been prepared,” said Ochoa.