Pablo-hit areas brace for potential storm

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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(UPDATED) Threatening Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, a low pressure area triggers flash floods that have affected almost 5,000 persons

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

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The state weather bureau on Friday, January 11, warned against a potential storm that is approaching Mindanao and may affect two provinces still reeling from Typhoon Pablo (Bopha).

Flooding caused by the low pressure area (LPA), in fact, has affected close to 5,000 people in Mindanao, according to the disaster bureau.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) spotted the LPA at 380 km southeast of General Santos City as of 4 am on Friday. It said the LPA is embedded along the intertropical convergence zone, a band of clouds, now affecting Mindanao.

This LPA is now within the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR). Outside PAR, the state weather bureau is monitoring another LPA, a rare occurrence, according to PAGASA.

In a phone interview with Rappler, PAGASA forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said the state weather bureau is closely watching the LPA within PAR, which may become a storm any time soon. But he declined to give an estimate on its chances of becoming a storm, and when. He said it is too early to tell.

Nevertheless, he said the LPA will bring rain over portions of Mindanao, including Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, places that have barely recovered from a killer typhoon that claimed over 1,000 lives and wrought up to P8.31-B in damages.

Over 500 evacuees

While it has not become a storm, the LPA has threatened lives and properties in affected areas.

In its 7 am update on Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the LPA has caused 6 flash floods and one landslide.

In particular, flooding has affected 4,965 persons, or 1,547 families, in Regions XI, XII, and Caraga. Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental belong to Region XI.

The potential storm has also forced up to 585 persons, or 117 families, to flee their homes. Local governments have set up 6 evacuation centers for them, according to the NDRRMC.

Disaster officials also said 6 schools – in Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur – have cancelled classes as of Thursday, January 10.

In Caraga, 3 roads and a bridge also remain impassable due to flooding.

Moderate, heavy rain

Rain will continue to pour in affected provinces on Friday.

In a special forecast effective until 11 am, PAGASA said Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley will experience cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rain (5-15 mm/h) on Friday morning.

On Saturday, January 12, the two areas will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with moderate rain (1-5 mm/h). It will experience the same level of cloudiness, but only with brief rainshowers and thunderstorms, on Sunday, January 13, according to PAGASA.

Meanwhile, PAGASA said the Bicol region, eastern Visayas, and eastern Mindanao will experience cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms. This may trigger flash floods and landslides, PAGASA said.

Cloudy skies will cover Aurora and Quezon, it added, bringing light rain.

PAGASA said the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao, Metro Manila, and the rest of Luzon will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com