‘Quinta’ lashes Bicol region

Storm signals raised; public told to brace for heavy rains, strong winds

Tropical storm “Quinta” (international name “Molave”) could intensify into a typhoon before making landfall in Catanduanes, Albay, and Sorsogon. 

As the tropical cyclone is already close to land, more areas were placed under tropical cyclone with Signals 1 and 2 in the severe weather bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) at 2 p.m. Sunday. 

A resident holds onto his umbrella in strong wind as others stand by their wooden boats along the coastal area of Legazpi City, Albay province south of Manila on October 25, 2020, ahead of tropical storm Molave’s expected landfall.
(Photo by Charism SAYAT / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Areas placed under Signal No. 2 were Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, including Burias and Ticao Islands, central and southern portions of Quezon (Mauban, Sampaloc, Lucban, Dolores, Candelaria, Tiaong, San Antonio, Sariaya, Tayabas City, Lucena City, Pagbilao, Atimonan, Perez, Alabat, Calauag, Quezon, Tagkawayan, Guinayangan, Lopez, Pitogo, Plaridel, Gumaca, Unisan, Agdangan, Padre Burgos, Macalelon, Catanauan, Gen. Luna, Buenavista, San Narciso, Mulanay, San Andres, and San Francisco), southeastern portion of Laguna (Paete, Kalayaan, Lumban, Cavinti, Luisiana, Majayjay, Liliw, Rizal, Nagcarlan, San Pablo City, Alaminos, Magdalena, and Pagsanjan), Batangas, Marinduque, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, including Lubang Island, and Northern Samar. 

Stormy conditions will be experienced in these areas within 24 hours. 

Areas under Signal No. 1 were the rest of Quezon and Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, southern part of Zambales (San Marcelino, San Felipe, San Narciso, Castillejos, Subic, San Antonio, Olongapo City, Botolan, and Cabangan), Calamian Islands, northern part of Samar (Calbayog City, Matuguinao, Tagapul-an, Sto. Nino, Almagro, Sta. Margarita, Gandara, San Jose de Buan, Pagsanghan, Tarangnan, San Jorge, Catbalogan City, Jiabong, Motiong, and Paranas), northern part of Eastern Samar (Maslog, Jipapad, Arteche, San Policarpo, Oras, Dolores, Can-Avid, and Taft), northern part of Capiz (SapiAn, Ivisan, Roxas City, Panay, Pilar, Pontevedra, and President Roxas), Aklan, northern part of Antique (Caluya, Libertad, Pandan, Sebaste, and Culasi), and northeastern part of Iloilo (Batad, Balasan, Estancia, and Carles). 

These areas may begin to experience 30 to 60 kph winds or intermittent rains within 36 hours. PAGASA last spotted “Quinta” at 95 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes at 1 p.m. Sunday, moving at 25 kph, further intensifying with maximum sustained winds of 110 kph and gustiness of up to 135 kph. 

“Quinta” may continue to move generally west until its landfall over the Catanduanes-Albay area on Sunday. 

After its landfall, it is seen to traverse the Southern Luzon area until Monday afternoon, then turn westnorthwest over the West Philippine Sea. It is likely to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility Tuesday afternoon. 

PAGASA is not discounting the possible further intensification of “Quinta” into a typhoon (with maximum wind speed of 118 to 220 kph) prior to its landfall. 

After crossing the Philippine archipelago, the tropical cyclone may continue to intensify over the West Philippine Sea.

Post-eruption lahar 

As “Quinta” is poised to make a landfall over the Bicol Region, its heavy rains could generate post eruption lahar along the slopes of Mayon Volcano, threatening nearby communities. 

In an advisory issued Saturday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned residents in “pre-determined zones” to be vigilant and ready for such a possibility. 

“Prolonged and heavy rainfall may generate post-eruption lahar on major channels draining the Mayon Volcano edifice by incorporating loose material from thick pyroclastic density current (PDC) deposits and remnant ashfall from the January to March 2018 eruption,” Phivolcs explained. 

According to Phivolcs, the bulk of erodible PDC deposits occupy the watershed areas of the Miisi, Mabinit, Buyuan, and Basud Channels, while older and erodible eruption deposits occupy the watershed areas on the eastern and western slopes of the mountain. 

These deposits, Phivolcs added, can be remobilized as “non-eruption lahar” by the erosion of banks and channel beds and can threaten communities along the middle and lower slopes and downstream of these channels with inundation, burial, and wash away. 

Phivolcs said lahar flows were already observed in barangays Maninila and Tandarora in Guinobatan, Albay last October 15 and 20 due to torrential heavy rains brought by Typhoons “Ofel” and “Pepito,” respectively. 

With this, the bureau warned of potential lahar flows and sedimentladen stream flows on all river channels draining the slopes of Mayon Volcano, particularly the Miisi, Binaan, Anoling, Quirangay, Maninila, Masarawag, Muladbucad, Nasisi, Mabinit, Matan-ag, and Basud Channels, that may be generated by heavy rainfall brought about by the tropical depression. 

Communities and local government units beside these drainages are also advised to be very vigilant and to move residents to high ground should heavy rains occur. 

Alert Level 1 remains in place over Mayon Volcano which means that it is at an “abnormal condition.” 

Brace for rains 

PAGASA advised the public to brace for moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Masbate, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Aurora, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque, Calamian Islands, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Aklan, and Antique in the next 24 hours. 

The tail-end of a frontal system will also bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, and Ilocos Norte. 

PAGASA said both weather systems may also cause light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Metro Manila, Palawan, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province Apayao, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, the rest of Visayas, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon. 

Weather specialist Ariel Rojas said Metro Manila may begin to feel the impact of “Quinta” Sunday evening, starting with light rains around early evening which then may become moderate to at times heavy from late evening until Monday afternoon. 

The State weather bureau warned of possible flooding, rain-induced landslides, or sediment-laden stream flow (lahar) during heavy or prolonged rainfall especially in areas that are highly susceptible to these hazards. 

Rojas said authorities have been requested to remove billboards, especially in Metro Manila, due to “Quinta’s” possible gusty winds. 

Thousands flee homes, stranded in ports 

At least 532 families or 1,789 individuals were temporarily sheltered in evacuation centers while over 1,500 passengers were stranded in various ports in four regions as “Quinta” dumped rains and inundated parts of Southern Luzon and Visayas, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Sunday. 

NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal said the evacuated individuals were from Guinobatan, Albay and Canaman, Camarines Sur in Bicol Region (Region 5) as municipal officials conducted a pre-emptive evacuation ahead of the expected landfall of Quinta either over Catanduanes, Albay or Sorsogon late Sunday afternoon or evening. 

Meanwhile, 662 individuals were stranded and taking shelter in sea ports in the Bicol Region, he added.

In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon or Region 4A), 243 passengers were stuck in ports and given assistance as sea voyage was prohibited due to bad weather. 

In Mimaropa (Region 4B), all trips of shipping vessels were cancelled in Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, and Romblon where tropical cyclone warning signals were raised. 

In Eastern Visayas (Region 8), 668 passengers were stranded in various sea ports while Calbayog City Airport and Catarman Airport were rended non-operational due to bad weather. 

Storm surges Possible storm surges may also affect the coastal areas of Northern Samar, Bicol region, and the central and southern portions of Quezon. 

Rough to very rough sea conditions will also prevail over the entire coastlines of Northern Luzon, with wave heights that may reach 3.0 to 5.5 meters, and seaboards of Aurora, Zambales, northern Palawan, including Calamian and Kalayaan Islands (wave heights from 2.5 to 4.5 meters), and all areas under tropical cyclone Signals 1 and 2 (wave heights up to 2.5 to 5.5 meters). 

Sea travel is suspended in these areas. Moderate to rough seas, with waves that may reach 1.2 to 2.8 meters, will prevail over the other coastlines of the country. 

PAGASA advised those using small boats to take necessary precautionary measures while venturing out to sea, while inexperienced mariners should avoid navigating in these conditions. 

“Quinta” will be 30 kms east southeast of Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro by Monday morning; 540 kms west of Calapan City by Tuesday morning; and 960 kms west of Central Luzon or outside the PAR by Wednesday morning. “Quinta” is the 17th cyclone to form this year and fourth in October, after “Nika,” “Ofel,” and “Pepito.”