Ruby hits land

(The Freeman) - December 7, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Typhoon Ruby made landfall in Dolores, Eastern Samar, last night. 

According to PAGASA, typhoon Ruby made landfall in Dolores, Eastern Samar and was located at 140 kilometers East Southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar as of 9:25 last night.


"There are many trees that have toppled, some of them on the highway," police Senior Inspector Alex Robin told AP by phone late last night from Dolores, hours before Hagupit made landfall. "We are totally in the dark here. The only light comes from flashlights."

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Robin said about 600 families had hunkered down in Dolores' three-story municipal hall, one of many emergency shelters in the town.

"Everyone here is just looking for a place to sleep," he said. "All the windows are closed, but it is still cool because of the wind and the rain."

Eastern Samar province Representative Ben Evardone said electricity also was knocked out early Saturday in Borongan city, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Dolores, where the government has set up a command center for rescue and relief operations headed by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Evardone said the strong winds also felled trees and ripped off roofing sheets. "You can hear the whistling of the wind," he said.

"Everybody is in fear because of what happened during (Haiyan)," Evardone said. "We can already feel the wrath of the typhoon. Everybody is praying."

Big waves have pushed seawater over concrete walls along a boulevard, flooding it, Evardone said.

Army troops deployed to supermarkets and major roads in provinces in the typhoon's path to prevent looting and chaos and clear debris, all of which slowed the government's response last year, said General Gregorio Pio Catapang, head of the Philippines' 120,000-strong military.

In the central city of Tacloban, where Haiyan's storm surges killed thousands of people and leveled villages, news of the approaching typhoon rekindled painful memories. Many residents fled to storm shelters, a sports stadium and churches even before authorities urged them to evacuate.

"I'm scared," said Haiyan survivor Jojo Moro. "I'm praying to God not to let another disaster strike us again. We haven't recovered from the first."

The 42-year-old businessman, who lost his wife, daughter and mother last year in Tacloban, said he stocked up on sardines, instant noodles, eggs and water.

More than 600,000 people have been moved to safety, including in Tacloban. A U.N. humanitarian agency spokesman, Denis McClean, said in Geneva that it was one of the largest peacetime evacuations in Philippine history. It also was reminiscent of the evacuation of 1 million people along India's coastline before Cyclone Phailin hit in October 2013.

PAGASA Mactan chief meteorologist Al Quiblat said Ruby was moving at a speed of 16 kilometers per hour. It was packing winds at 205 kph with gustiness at 250 kph. He also said Ruby still has a 600 kilometers influence area to be monitored in next three hours whether it will increase or decrease as of last night.

North Cebu already having heavy rains as of last night. Around 6 p.m. PAGASA said they issued a red rainfall warning which means some areas can receive as much as 30mm of rainfall which is already considered heavy.

He also said there is a remote possibility Ruby will make landfall in Cebu because of indications of change of direction, while it was moving generally northwest there were also times it was observed moving southeast.

The southern part of Cebu was cautioned of 60 kph winds under storm signal 1 and may generate wind waves or seawater rise.


PAGASA Director Oscar Tabada further said that Visayas area will experience dark skies until Thursday and weather should be better on Friday.

Tabada said as of yesterday that the eastern seaboard is in critical position during high tides because strong winds brought by Ruby can contribute to wind waves and possible storm surge.

"Atong concern ang gabii kay muabot man gud ug 1.67 meters ang high tide nga usa sa mka-contribute sa wind wave ug storm surge and around 11:00p.m. tonight delikado sa storm surge," Tabada said yesterday.

He added that once Ruby will make landfall its speed will accelerate causing Visayas area to experience moderate to heavy rainfall with seven to 20-millimeters per hour that is equivalent to 35,000 to 100,000 barrels per hour.

"Samtang naa siya sa dagat kusog siya kay naa diha iyang pagkaon diha siya kuha ug kusog pero inig naa na siya sa yuta mura na ug magkabuang kay wala na siyay kakuhaan ug pagkaon," Tabada said in a press conference.

He said after Ruby we should expect another Low Pressure Area on December 12 before dry season enters early next year.

"This is the new normal and we have to live with it and adopt with it…Yolanda serves as our window of opportunity," Tabada said.

As of yesterday Secretary Mario Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology reported that Ruby was expected to make a landfall in five areas: Borongan in Samar (Sunday, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.), Masbate (Sunday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.), Sibuyan Island (Sunday, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.), Romblon (Monday, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.) and Mindoro (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Also as of yesterday public storm warning signals were raised in the following areas: Signal No. 3 in Catanduanes, Albay, Burias Island, Sorsogon, Masbate, Ticao Island, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, and Biliran.

Signal No. 2 in Camarines Sur, Romblon, Aklan, Capiz, Northern Cebu and Cebu City, Bantayan Island, Leyte, and Southern Leyte.

Signal No. 1 in Southern Quezon, Camarines Norte, Batangas, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Northern Negros, Rest of Cebu, Bohol, Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island and Dinagat Province.

Ruby is expected to exit Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday via Mindoro.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that as of 4 p.m. today, a total of 2,163 passengers were stranded in various ports in typhoon-affected areas, while 80 vessels, 434 rolling cargoes and four motor bancas cancelled trips.

The Department of Transportation and Communication, on the other hand, said that at least 88 flights were cancelled due to bad weather.

Meanwhile, as of press time, classes from pre-school to high school have been suspended until Monday in the following towns of Palawan: Palawan, Coron, Culion and Busuanga. Classes in all levels in Cavite province have been suspended as well beginning today until Tuesday according Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla.  - Jessa Marie Agua, Ria Mae Y. Booc, Philippine STAR and AP/BRP (FREEMAN)


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