By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hoisted tropical cyclone warning Signal No. 3 over 10 areas in Luzon, as typhoon “Rosita” (international name “Yutu”) inches toward Northern and Central Luzon.
PAGASA weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio said Rosita is forecast to move west at 20 kilometers per hour (kph) but still likely to make landfall between southern Isabela and northern Aurora around 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 30).
Rosita was last spotted at 190 kilometers (km) east-northeast of Casiguran, Aurora shortly before Monday evening.
It is slightly weaker but remained a “strong” cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 185 kph, PAGASA weather specialist Benison Estareja said. Rosita also remains a massive cyclone with a diameter of 600 kilometers.
He pointed out that Rosita may maintain its typhoon strength or further weaken to a severe tropical storm upon its landfall on Tuesday.
However, PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano said it is not yet time to let the public’s guard down, as Rosita remains a threat to Northern and Central Luzon.
As of Monday, 11 p.m., PAGASA has hoisted Signal No. 3 over Isabela, Quirino, Northern Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Benguet, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province, and Pangasinan.
Areas under Signal No. 2 were Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, northern Quezon including Polillo Island, southern Aurora, Zambales, Pampanga and Bulacan.
Meanwhile, southern Quezon, Batanes and Babuyan group of islands, Rizal, Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Bataan, Cavite, and Camarines Norte were placed under Signal No. 1.
This Tuesday, Aurelio said the center of typhoon Rosita will move across Aurora, Isabela, Quirino, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, and Benguet, then leave the landmass of Luzon via La Union towards the West Philippine Sea in the afternoon.
“Expect light to moderate becoming heavy rains over the eastern section of Northern and Central Luzon as early as Monday evening,” Estareja said.
This Tuesday (October 30) will be “very crucial” as most of Northern and Central Luzon will be affected by Rosita, he added.
“Heavy to intense rains will be felt in areas under Signal No. 3, while moderate to heavy rains will prevail in areas under Signal No. 2. Meanwhile, Metro Manila and other areas under Signal No. 1 will have light to moderate to at times heavy rains,” he said.
The public should be alert against possible flash floods or landslides, especially in low-lying or mountainous areas, he warned.
By Wednesday, several areas in Northern and Central Luzon, especially those in the western section, will continue to experience light to moderate rains, even though Rosita is already expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility by this time.
PAGASA-Weather Division’s Marine Meteorological Services Section Chief Rene Paciente said weather condition in some areas will gradually improve by Wednesday.
By Thursday, improved weather condition is expected in most areas of Northern and Central Luzon, he added.
Storm surge warning
PAGASA has also issued storm surge warnings over coastal provinces that will be directly affected by the typhoon.
Estareja said coastal areas in La Union, Isabela, and Pangasinan could experience storm surge up to two to three meters that can cause severe damage to communities, coastal/ marine infrastructures and disruptions to all marine-related activities, significant erosion to beaches, and possible river swelling.
PAGASA advised coastal communites in these provices to evacuate, and cancel marine activities.
It also advised those living near coastal areas in Ilocos Sur to evacuate as one to two-meter-high storm surges are likely.
Meanwhile, PAGASA advised those in Ilocos Norte to stay away from the coasts or beaches due to about one-meter-high storm surges.
Gale warnings raised
Estareja advised the fisherfolk to prevent from setting sail into the seaboards of Northern and Central Luzon and eastern seaboard of Mindanao, particularly Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Aurora, Zambales, Bataan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, eastern coasts of Albay, Sorsogon and Quezon including Polilio Island, Northern and Eastern Samar, Surigao, Dinagat Island, and Siargao, as rough seas are dangerous for small sea vessels.