Tropical Storm “Basyang” is expected to make landfall in Cebu today (Tuesday), as officials urged Cebuanos to be on alert for possible landslides and flash floods. Those living near coastal areas are also advised to prepare to leave their homes due to possible storm surges.
Weather specialist Romeo Aguirre of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan said that “Basyang” has slightly accelerated with a speed of 23 kilometers per hour (Kph) towards the Caraga Region in eastern Mindanao with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gustiness of up to 80 kph. It will bring rains throughout Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Iloilo and Guimaras, Aguirre said.
As of 5 p.m. yesterday, Pagasa raised Storm Signal No. 2 over Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
Signal No. 1 remained over Cebu, Southern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Guimaras, Iloilo and Dinagat Islands. But Aguirre said there’s a chance Cebu will be put under Signal No. 2 if “Basyang” intenifies.
“Posible siyang ma raise to Signal no. 2 if dili ni mohinay ang dala niyang hangin,” Aguirre said as he reminded the public to continue monitoring weather updates.
TS Basyang was last spotted 435 km east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. Weather is seen to improve on Thursday.
Still no sea trips
Due to rough seas brought about by the second storm to hit the country this year, ships are still not allowed to travel to and from Cebu after Pagasa issued a gale warning yesterday.
As of 5 p.m., about 31 vessels were prohibited to sail, leaving at least 1, 240 passengers stranded at Cebu ports.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station Ensign Ronnie Eras said they are continuously monitoring the weather and are waiting for the Pagasa to lift the gale warning for the trips to resume.
He also said the coast guard is on standby and prepared for any untoward incidents brought by TS Basyang.
“Regarding sa preparedness, anytime pwede kaming e-approach kasi naka-standby naman ang aming personnel sa Quick Response Team,” he said.
Due to the weather disturbance, some cities and municipalities have declared a suspension of classes today.
Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero had suspended all classes in both elementary and high school in his town.
In Naga City, Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong announced the suspension of classes in elementary and secondary levels while Mandaue City Schools Superintendent Arden Monisit announced the cancellation of night classes at public junior and senior high schools. Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap also ordered the suspension of classes in all levels in public and private schools in their city.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has alerted all disaster and rescue teams in Cebu, particularly in the southern portion of the province.
PDRRMO information officer Julius Regner said that they have deployed two teams from PDRRMO to help local disaster units in monitoring and checking heavy equipment needed in the event of landslides and flash floods.
“We deployed them since Sunday and then we urged our LGUs to convene their respective councils to expedite preparations,” said Regner.
The PDRRMO has also coordinated with other offices of the Capitol, such as the Provincial Engineering Office and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) for additional assistance in case there are uprooted trees blocking the roads.
Regner also said that the PSWDO has assured their office that the provincial government has enough stock of government-subsidized rice from the National Food Authority (NFA). /with Day Desk Editor Doris C. Bongcac and Morexette Eram