‘Aghon’ raises storm signals, halts sea travel

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
�Aghon� raises storm signals, halts sea travel
State weather forecasters said Aghon was monitored over the coastal waters of Sibuyan Island yesterday afternoon.

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical depression Aghon was forecast to intensify into a tropical storm and make landfall over parts of Quezon province this morning, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

State weather forecasters said Aghon was monitored over the coastal waters of Sibuyan Island yesterday afternoon.

Aghon was packing maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 75 kph as it moved northwestward at 30 kph.

Around 100-200 millimeters of rain are forecast over Quezon including Polillo Islands, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.

Meanwhile, around 50-100 millimeters of rain are expected over Aurora, the rest of Bicol Region and the eastern portions of Isabela, Laguna and Rizal.

Tropical cyclone wind signal No. 1 has been hoisted over Aurora, the eastern portion of Nueva Ecija, the eastern portion of Bulacan, Metro Manila, Quezon including Pollilo Islands, Romblon, Marinduque, Laguna, Rizal, Oriental Mindoro, parts of Batangas, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands.

Signal No. 1 is also up over Northern Samar and Samar.

Wind signal No. 2 may be the highest possible wind signal during Aghon’s passage.

Aghon was forecast to move generally northwestward over Sibuyan Sea and Tayabas Bay.

While it could weaken to a low-pressure area, Aghon could possibly re-intensify into tropical storm category again this morning.

It could continue northward and may possibly make another landfall over Lucena City or Pagbilao, Quezon and emerge over Lamon Bay this morning.

PAGASA said by afternoon or early evening, it would begin its re-curve towards the northeast as it continues to intensify.

It can reach typhoon category Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning as it exits the Philippine area of responsibility by Tuesday.

The effects of Aghon, meanwhile, left 6,554 travelers stranded at seaports after authorities suspended sea travel.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s Eastern Visayas district recorded 3,649 passengers, drivers and helpers, five vessels, four motor bancas and 1,118 rolling cargoes stranded, with seven vessels taking shelter at four ports.

At 16 ports under the PCG’s Bicol district, there were 1,484 people, seven vessels and 259 rolling cargoes stranded, while 48 vessels and 10 motor bancas were taking shelter.

There were 1,326 people, 10 vessels and 238 rolling cargoes stranded, and 10 vessels and seven motor bancas taking shelter at 12 ports in PCG’s Southern Tagalog district.

In addition, 95 people and 49 rolling cargoes were stranded at two ports covered by PCG’s district in Northeastern Mindanao, while six vessels were taking shelter.

The Philippine Ports Authority reported giving rice porridge or lugaw to 92 stranded passengers at Nasipit Port in Agusan del Norte, as well as fastfood meals and bread to 214 stranded passengers at ports in Catanduanes and in Pio Duran, Albay.

The PPA also declared sea travel from its port management offices in Batangas, Mindoro, Marquez (trips going to Romblon, Marinduque and Masbate), Bicol, Masbate, and Eastern Leyte/Samar cancelled as of 5 p.m.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), for its part, has advised its airport managers in the Bicol Region to secure airport facilities under their jurisdictions to keep them from possibly getting damaged during storm.

CAAP issued the directive to managers of the Bicol International Airport, Legazpi Airport, Naga Airport, Virac Airport, Masbate Airport, Daet Airport, Sorsogon Airport and Bulan Airport.

CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said concerned managers had also been instructed to ensure fuel is in sufficient supply and equipment and documents secure.

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced the cancellation of 19 domestic flights due to bad weather at destinations.

But AirAsia Philippines, according to spokesman Carlo Carongoy, has no flight cancellations. “As we speak all flights are a go,” he said. — Ghio Ong, Rudy Santos, Ramon Lazaro

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