Signals up, flights canceled as Aghon intensifies

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Signals up, flights canceled as Aghon intensifies
Weather specialist Benison Estareja discusses the track of tropical depression Aghon in the country, during a briefing at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration head office in Quezon City yesterday.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Several flights were canceled while sea trips were suspended by port authorities yesterday as Tropical Depression Aghon gained strength and continued to bring heavy rains and severe winds over the country’s eastern seaboard.

Aghon was forecast to intensify into a tropical storm by this morning, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

PAGASA said Aghon was seen to intensify before 8 a.m. this morning as it moved toward the Philippine landmass.

It could make landfall over the southern portion of Eastern Samar or Dinagat, after which it will pass northwestward, skirting the coast of Northern Samar.

It could possibly make another landfall over the southern portion of Bicol region this evening.

By Sunday, Aghon could begin to recurve generally northeastward as it continues to intensify. It could reach severe tropical storm category by Sunday morning and a typhoon by Monday.

Aghon was monitored 135 km northeast of Hinatuan at 3 p.m. yesterday.

Signals raised

Tropical cyclone wind signal No. 1 has been raised over Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, parts of Camarines Norte and Masbate.

The same wind signal was raised over Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, parts of Cebu, including Camotes Islands, Bantayan island and Bohol.

Signal No. 1 was also raised over Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte.

Minimal to minor impacts from strong winds are possible within these areas, state meteorologists said.

PAGASA said wind signal No. 2 may be the highest possible signal raised during the passage of Aghon.

Rains between 100-200 millimeters are forecast over Bicol and Northern Samar from this afternoon until Sunday.

Around 50-100mm of rain are forecast over the rest of Eastern Visayas, southern portion of Quezon and Polilio islands.

Cancelled flights

The Manila International Airport Authority announced the cancellation of six domestic flights due to bad weather condition at destinations.

Cebu Pacific sister company CEBGO cancelled flights DG 6841/6842 Manila-Siargao-Manila while PAL Express also cancelled flights from Manila-Siargao-Manila or 2P 2971/2972 and 2P 2973/2974.

Authorities suspended yesterday the sailing of vessels in provinces affected by Aghon.

In Masbate, six trips of passenger vessels to the provinces of Samar and Cebu and to Albay were cancelled, according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

The respective stations of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also banned the travel of all ships and bancas in Western Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, Western Leyte, Eastern Leyte and Biliran in the Visayas.

In Mindanao, sea journeys were also prohibited in areas covered by the PCG stations in Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, and Bucas Grande in Surigao del Norte.

The PPA reported there was no stranded passenger due to the cancelled trips.

Food packs

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian yesterday alerted all department field offices in Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Caraga to check their inventories of family food packs (FFPs) as part of preparations for the possible impact of Aghon.

“The storm coming in may affect your areas. I checked our inventory levels daily and we’re all very high stockpile, according to my reports. So, we’re all ready with the pre-positioned family food packs,” he said.

According to DSWD Assistant Secretary for disaster response and management Irene Dumlao, the agency has prepositioned over P189 million worth of FFPs in areas under tropical cyclone wind signal No. 1.  

DSWD data showed its field office for Western Visayas has a stockpile of 11,363 boxes of FFPs while the Caraga regional office has 32,000 FFPs prepositioned in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands.

Dumlao added that more than 199,000 boxes of FFPs are currently stockpiled in the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City while 60,237 FFPs are stored in the Visayas Disaster Resource Center in Cebu City. — Sheila Crisostomo, Rudy Santos, Ghio Ong

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