Wilma makes landfall in Surigao Sur
Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - November 5, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Tropical Depression Wilma made landfall over Tandag, Surigao del Sur before noon yesterday, bringing heavy rains in many parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, the state weather bureau said.

Wilma, however, lost its strength after hitting land and was downgraded by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to a low-pressure area at 5 p.m. yesterday.

Storm warning signal no. 1 was raised at 11 a.m. over the southern part of Negros Occidental, southern part of Negros Oriental, Southern Cebu, Siquijor, Bohol, Southern Leyte, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin Island and the northern part of Zamboanga del Norte.

The storm warning signal was lifted late in the afternoon.

Rene Paciente, PAGASA weather forecasting section chief, said Wilma, the 23rd cyclone to enter the country this year, was expected to cross Leyte provinces, Southern Cebu and Bohol yesterday.

Paciente said Wilma weakened after crossing land, but it could regain strength over the Sulu Sea.

He said Wilma could make a second landfall in Puerto Princesa, Palawan before moving toward the West Philippine Sea.

As of 2 p.m., the low-pressure area was spotted at 32 kilometers southeast of Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

Paciente said improving weather condition was expected in Visayas and Mindanao beginning today.

Tropical Storm Yolanda

Meanwhile, Paciente said a new storm over the Pacific Ocean was likely to enter the country tomorrow.

He said the storm would be given the local name Yolanda once it enters the country’s territory.

Paciente said there is a high probability that the storm will hit land.

He said tropical cyclones that enter the country in the months of November and December are usually “landfalling” due to the prevalence of the northeasterly wind which pushes them down.

Over 4,000 passengers stranded

Over 4,000 passengers were stranded in some seaports in the Visayas as Wilma entered the country, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said based on reports of their field offices, a total of 4,707 people have been waiting for hours at various terminals.

Around 4,355 of the stranded passengers were seen in Cebu, Bohol and Southern Negros while 352 were at the Manila Northport.

“The PCG is advising the public to monitor the weather conditions in these areas to avoid inconvenience in sea travel,” Balilo said.

The PCG earlier placed on alert its stations in areas that would be affected by Wilma. – With Evelyn Macairan, Jaime Laude


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