By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The low-pressure area (LPA) being monitored off the West Philippine Sea may intensify into tropical depression “Goring” within 48 hours.
Around Thursday noon, the location of the LPA was estimated at 250 km west-northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather specialist Ezra Bulquerin said some parts of Northern Luzon will likely continue to experience rains in the next four days due to the LPA, cyclone-enhanced southwest monsoon or “habagat,” and tropical storm “Falcon” (international name “Danas”).
So far, the brewing cyclone, which will be named “Goring” once it becomes a tropical depression, is not seen to make landfall over any part of the country, Bulquerin said.
He added that the LPA will not a have a direct effect on the movement of Falcon, which is about to leave the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday evening.
Falcon was last spotted 385 km north-northeast of Basco, Batanes on mid-Thursday.
It slightly strengthened with maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 90 kph. It continues to move north at 20 kph.
Signal No. 1 remains hoisted over Batanes, while tropical cyclone wind signals in other areas have been lifted.
Bulquerin said PAGASA will likely lift the warning in Batanes within Thursday.
This Friday, moderate to at times heavy rains will persist over Ilocos Region, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, and northern Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands, while light to moderate to at times heavy rains will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.
Residents in these areas, especially those in areas identified to be at risk of flooding and landslides, were advised to take precautionary measures, coordinate with local disaster risk reduction and management offices, and continue monitoring PAGASA updates.
Sea travel also remains risky over the seaboard of Batanes, coastlines of Luzon, and the western seaboard of Visayas.
Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, and the eastern section of Central Luzon may expect gradual improvement in weather condition by weekend but the western section of Central Luzon and Northern Luzon will likely continue to experience rains of varying intensities in the next four days, Bulquerin said.
Angat Dam water level still down
Meanwhile, the water level at Angat Dam in Bulacan continues to dwindle on Thursday, inching closer to its lowest recorded level of 157.56 meters.
As of Thursday morning, Angat Dam’s water level was slightly down to 158.27 meters from 158.38 meters last Wednesday.
This is due to lack of rainfall over the Angat Watershed in Bulacan, despite the passage of Falcon in Northern Luzon.
Rice for calamity victims
With the first strong storm hitting some parts of the country, the National Food Authority (NFA) is now ready to fulfill its only job after the Rice Tariffication Law was passed in March.
Since the signing of Republic Act (RA) 11203, NFA’s mandate was largely reduced to just ensuring rice buffer stock for the country during calamities and emergencies.
In a statement, the state-run grains agency assured that it has already prepositioned food security stocks in areas along the track of Falcon.
“We are closely monitoring and coordinating with LGUs [local government units]. If there will be areas that need rice for relief, our stocks are available,” NFA Administrator Judy Carol L. Dansal said.
“Our OPCEN [operation center] will be working 24 hours a day during calamities like this to ensure that we have personnel to serve the LGUs and other relief agencies in case they will withdraw rice from our warehouses,” she added.
Dansal said rice stocks of provinces projected to be hit by typhoons were bolstered this week.
NFA currently has around 4 million bags of rice strategically stored in its different warehouses in Luzon, including the National Capital Region (NCR), ready for distribution for relief operations during calamities like this one.
In total, the agency now holds more than 10 million bags of rice stored in all of its warehouses nationwide after being able to buy 5.4 million bags from local farmers in the first half of the year alone. (With a report from Madelaine B. Miraflor)
(Note: This post has been updated.)