This developed as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned against moderate to heavy rains over the Bicol region and the provinces of Rizal, Aurora and Quezon due to the tail-end of a cold front. PAGASA, Released

'Agaton' intensifies on Philippines exit
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical Depression Agaton yesterday intensified into a storm as it moved away from the Philippines, dumping heavy rains in several areas and killing at least two persons in Cebu.

This developed as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned against moderate to heavy rains over the Bicol region and the provinces of Rizal, Aurora and Quezon due to the tail-end of a cold front.

Residents in these areas were cautioned against flooding and landslides and told to coordinate with disaster officials.

Sailing in the seaboards of Northern Luzon and Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao is prohibited due to the surge of the northeast monsoon.

As of 1 p.m. yesterday, the center of Agaton was estimated at 440 kilometers west northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

It packed winds of 65 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph and was moving westward at 25 kph.

Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon will bring cloudy skies with scattered rains over Cagayan Valley and the Cordilleras as well as in Aurora in the next 24 hours.

The same weather system will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, bringing partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rains.

Mindanao will experience cloudy skies with isolated rains due to localized thunderstorms.

Classes suspended, flights cancelled

Classes in Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Sorsogon were suspended while flights bound for Legazpi City in Albay were cancelled yesterday due to Agaton.

The provincial governments of Camarines Sur and Catanduanes suspended classes in all levels, while only pre-school and high school were suspended in Sorsogon.

In Masbate, only a few schools cancelled classes.

Landslides were reported along the Baras-Gigmoto-Viga road network in Viga, Catanduanes and only light vehicles were allowed to pass through Tawad-Balud.

The Ariman-Casiguran road in Barangay Bentuco, Gubat, Sorsogon was also closed to all types of vehicles due to mud and rocks that rolled onto the highway.

Continuous heavy rains caused flooding in 16 villages in Buhi town, two in Bato and three in Lupi, all in Camarines Sur. 

Floodwaters submerged several barangays and bridges in the region.

Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay public safety and emergency management office, said only the towns of Sto. Domingo, Guinobatan and Manito suspended classes due to flooding in low-lying villages.

Evacuation

Some 1,460 individuals have been evacuated in Palawan due to Agaton.   

Thirty-eight houses were destroyed in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), according to Supt. Imelda Tolentino, spokesperson for the police.

Evacuation centers were set up in many areas, including 89 in Palawan and 49 in Romblon.

As of Tuesday midnight, 274 people and five vessels were stranded in Cuyo and El Nido, both in Palawan.

Quoting Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Tolentino said all roads in the region were not flooded.

She said no casualties, injured or missing persons were reported.

The minimal effects of Agaton could be attributed to the higher number of search and rescue personnel deployed in various areas, including 40 in Palawan, 33 in Occidental Mindoro, 36 in Romblon and 87 in Puerto Princesa, Tolentino said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is monitoring provinces hit by Agaton as relief operations in areas devastated by Vinta and Urduja continue.

“We assure the public that we have adequate relief goods for the affected families,” DSWD officer-in-charge Emmanuel Leyco said. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rainier Allan Ronda, Celso Amo, Cet Dematera

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