Potential storm forces 7,000 to flee homes

A low pressure area brings heavy rain in Mindanao, making rivers overflow and threatening places hardest hit by Typhoon Pablo

POTENTIAL STORM. A low pressure area draws closer to Mindanao. PAGASA satellite image as of 4:32 am

MANILA, Philippines – Rivers rose on Friday, January 11, forcing over 7,000 persons to flee their homes due to a potential storm in disaster-stricken Mindanao.

The trigger was merely a low pressure area (LPA) – not a killer typhoon like Pablo (Bopha) – but it already brought heavy rain in the Caraga region, according to the region’s Office of Civil Defense director Dr Blanch Gobenciong.

Gobenciong said that as of 12 pm, the potential storm forced at least 7,002 persons to flee their homes. This is equivalent to 1,840 families.

Most evacuees – 5,962 persons or 1,628 families – came from Butuan.

They had to evacuate after rain caused the Adlayan and Hubang Rivers, both in Agusan del Sur, to overflow. In Butuan, the Agusan River rose to 2.8 meters above sea level, prompting the local government to raise alert level 3.

The continuous rain has also forced road closures and class suspensions. Due to the LPA, Cebu Pacific has cancelled all flights to the region. At Air Philippines, however, a Manila-Butuan flight has resumed.

In its 7 am update on Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said it remains on red alert due to the LPA. Its response, however, may be affected by the resignation of Retired Army general Benito Ramos as head of the NDRRMC, which was announced on Friday.

More rain

Meanwhile, in a special forecast issued at 10 am on Friday, the state weather bureau kept its warning against rain in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, the two provinces hardest hit by Pablo in December 2012.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies, with light to moderate rain (1-5 mm/h), on Saturday, January 12.

The two areas will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies, with brief rainshowers, on Sunday and Monday, January 13 and 14, according to PAGASA.

Earlier on Friday, PAGASA said it is too early to determine if the LPA will become a storm. But the state weather bureau said it is closely monitoring the LPA, a threat that came only a month after Pablo killed over 1,000 persons and wrought up to P8.31-B in damages. – Rappler.com

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