By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
The low-pressure area (LPA) east of Mindanao has developed into a tropical depression with local name “Domeng,” the first cyclone this month and the fourth this year.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) estimated Domeng at 690 kilometers (km) east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, with maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 60 kph around Tuesday afternoon.
Weather specialist Nikos Peñaranda said the possibility of Domeng making landfall remains slim but its outer circulation could bring moderate to heavy rains over the eastern section of the country until the weekend. The cyclone has a diameter of 300 kilometers.
The combined effects of the cyclone and the intertropical convergence zone could trigger flash floods or landslides over low-lying or mountainous areas in Albay, Catanduanes, CamarinesNorte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Masbate, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and the entire Visayas.
Peñaranda noted that the cyclone “could trigger strong southwesterly wind flow” that may usher in the wet or rainy season in the country.
The southwesterly winds will bring occasional moderate to heavy rains over the western sections of Luzon and Visayas as early as Thursday, including Metro Manila, by Friday or Saturday, and may last until Monday, he said. This could trigger flash floods or landslides in the said areas, he added.
Domeng could reach the severe tropical storm intensity with maximum winds of 87 kph to 110 kph as it hovers over the Pacific Ocean, Peñaranda also said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and other concerned Regional DRRM Councils raised their alert status to Blue as early as 5 p.m. Monday due to Domeng.
The alert status was raised as members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) Core
Group met at the NDRRM Operations Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
In preparation for the effects of Domeng, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) officer-in-charge Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James E. Purisima presided over the meeting attended by representatives from NDRRM member agencies, namely: Department of Science and Technology-PAGASA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Regional DRRM Councils II, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, V, VIII, XI and CARAGA likewise joined the meeting via videoconference call.
Residents along the flood and landslide prone areas are also advice to take precautionary measures as the LPA already hovering Caraga region.
Domeng is currently moving north-northwest at 14 kph. By Wednesday morning, the cyclone will be at 745 km east of Catarman, Northern Samar.
By Thursday morning, it is expected at 630 km east of Casiguran, Aurora, and by Friday morning at 490 km east of Tuguegarao City.By Saturday morning it is expected at 565 km east of Basco, Batanes.
Peñaranda said the cyclone is nearset to Cagayan province by Friday.
PAGASA said Domeng will likely leave the country by Sunday.
Today, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will continue to experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers due to localized thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, the new LPA was spotted inside the country’s area of responsibility or at 1,030 km east of Virac, Catanduanes on Tuesday.
Peñaranda said this weather disturbance is expected to dissipate within 24 hours. (With reports from Francis Wakefield and Mike Crismundo)