'Helen': 7 Luzon provinces under Signal # 1
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Seven provinces in northern Luzon are now under public storm warning signal number 1 as tropical storm Helen (international codename Kai-tak) continues to threaten the area, the state weather bureau Pagasa said Monday, August 13.
Helen was last spotted 430 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, with maximum sustained winds of 65 km per hour near the center and gusts of up to 80 km/h.
Public storm warning signal number 1 has been raised over the following provinces:
- Cagayan (including Calayan and Babuyan Islands)
The said areas will experience winds between 45-60 km/h.
The tropical depression is moving west northwest at 13 km/h, the bureau said.
Heavy to torrential rainfall (15-35 millimeters per hour) is expected within the 400 km diameter of the tropical depression, the bureau's 5 pm bulletin said.
It is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon, bringing rain over Luzon and Visayas.
The bureau warned small seacraft not to venture out to sea in Central & Southern Luzon and the Visayas due to Helen and the Southwest Monsoon.
Helen is forecast to be 210 km east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan by Tuesday afternoon (August 14); 80 km south southwest of Basco, Batanes by Wednesday; and 310 km northwest of Basco by Thursday.
The bureau has reported intermittent light to moderate rain (2.5-7.5 mm/h)over Central & Southern Luzon as of 5 pm Monday, while frequent moderate to heavy rain (7.5-10.0 mm/h) has been recorded over the Camarines provinces, CALABARZON, Bulacan, Pampanga, Mindoro, Bataan, Zambales, and Metro Manila.
Landslides and flashfloods are possible in low-lying and mountainous areas under storm signal # 1, the bureau warned.
The next bulletin for Helen will be released at 11 pm.
Authorities warned Helen could bring more heavy rain to the capital and surrounding areas that are still reeling from devastating floods that have left 92 dead.
Nearly half a million people are packed in evacuation centers, while all in all, more than 3.4 million people have been affected by the floods, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
Flooding in Manila has largely subsided, although hundreds of thousands remained cut off by neck-deep floods in low-lying farming towns north of the capital that are natural catch basins.
"These are the people we are most worried about," NDRRMC head Benito Ramos told Agence France-Presse.
"We have not yet fully recovered and here comes another storm."
"We will continue with our alert levels until we see the full effects of this approaching weather disturbance."
Similar heavy rainfall submerged more than 80 percent of the capital Manila last week, virtually bringing the megacity to a standstill.
Authorities said they were checking for possible outbreaks of disease and rushing food packs to evacuation centers, while the death toll had meanwhile risen to 92 from 85 reported Sunday.
Many of the casualties were due to drowning.
In Malabon, a coastal district facing Manila Bay, people trickled back to clean up their mud-streaked homes Monday amid warnings to be prepared for fresh evacuations.
"Many have returned to their homes to rebuild, but sadly they may have to leave again if there are more floods because of this new storm," said Roderick Tongol, head of Malabon's disaster response unit.
"We are on heightened alert, and we have placed all our rescue teams on standby ahead of this new storm," he said.
Virtually all of Malabon's 21 villages were swamped by neck-deep floods at the height of the torrential rains, and some 1,000 people still remained in evacuation centers Monday. - With reports from the Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com
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