'Helen' intensifies into storm, threatens Luzon
- Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2012 - 11:57am

MANILA, Philippines - The state-run weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration on Monday raised signal number 1 in several provinces in Luzon as tropical depression "Helen" strengthened into a tropical storm, moving toward northern part of the country.

In its latest bulletin, PAGASA hoisted signal number 1 over Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Cagayan, Babuyan, Calayan and Batanes groups of Islands as of 11 a.m.

Tropical storm Helen was spotted 550 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kilometer per hour, moving west northwest at 13 kilometers per hour.

Meanwhile, as of 10 a.m. Monday, five major water reservoirs have opened their gates in anticipation of more rainfall.

According to PAGASA, one gate each in Angat, Ipo, and San Roque dams are now open while two gates each have been releasing water in Ambuklao and Binga dams.

More Rain

The new storm is forecast to dump more rain in flood-battered northern Philippines a week after nearly 100 people dies in a monsoon deluge that submerged half of the sprawling capital city.

Officials in Cavite province southwest of Manila closed schools in Rosario town Monday because of downpours, and rescuers began evacuating landslide-prone areas in Manila's suburban Quezon City.

The weather agency says Tropical Depression Helen is whirling over the Pacific Ocean. It's unlikely to hit land, but will bring heavy to intense monsoon rains.

More than 400,000 people fled their homes last week when floods swamped Manila and nearby provinces. Officials in Cavite province southwest of Manila closed schools in Rosario town Monday because of downpours, and rescuers began evacuating landslide-prone areas in Manila's suburban Quezon City. - With AP

AMBUKLAO AND BINGA ANGAT ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CALAYAN AND BATANES CAVITE MORE RAIN PACIFIC OCEAN PHILIPPINE ATMOSPHERIC QUEZON CITY SAN ROQUE TROPICAL DEPRESSION HELEN
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