The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - (UPDATE, 10:30 a.m.) Tropical storm "Butchoy" has entered the Philippine area of responsibility, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) chief Undersecretary Benito Ramos said.
Ramos, quoting the state weather bureau, said Butchoy (international code name: Guchol) was about 900 kilometers east of Central Philippines as of 10 a.m., moving in a west-northwest direction. Butchoy is carrying winds of 65 kph to 100 kph.
Ramos urged fishermen in the provinces of Davao, Surigao, Dinagat Islands, Samar, Sorsogon, Leyte, Albay, and Camarines not to venture out to sea because of the approaching storm.
Ramos said it will be up to local government units to prepare for the coming storm.
Over 60 persons remain missing due to rains and floods spawned by Butchoy and the monsoons.
Around the country
Earlier, weather forecaster Rene Pamil, of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said Butchoy was estimated 1,110 kilometers east of Northern Mindanao (10.5°N, 136.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. It is now moving west-northwest at 20 kph.
Pamil said the tropical storm is not likely to make landfall just like Ambo, but will bring rain to Visayas and Luzon.
With the coming of Butchoy, Pamil said the shallow low-pressure area (SLPA) spotted in Northern Mindanao and enhanced southwest monsoon affecting Luzon have dissipated.
However, he said the southwest monsoon continues to bring rain all over Luzon, including Metro Manila.
All major Luzon dams in the country are still below their spilling levels and have not opened any of its gates. But Pagasa is keeping a close eye on Magata dam in Isabela, which always fills up first at the onset of a storm.
In its advisory, Pagasa said Luzon will likely experience occasional rains becoming frequent over the western section which may trigger flash floods and landslides.
While western section of Visayas and of Mindanao will have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms.
The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms, it added.
Moderate to strong winds from the southwest will prevail over the entire country, with seas becoming moderate to rough.
Pagasa also warned of strong to gale force winds associated with the surge of the southwest monsoon which may affect the seaboards of Luzon and the western seaboard of Visayas.
Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves.
On blue alert
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is now on blue alert in anticipation of the storm's arrival.
Benito Ramos, also NDRRMC executive director, said they have been coordinating with local government units in preparation for the storm’s arrival.
A blue alert requires half of the agency’s personnel to be ready for contingencies.
Ramos said residents of northern Mindanao have been warned of floods and landslide that may occur because of the bad weather.
He said the public is now more vigilant in preparing for disasters.
The NDRRMC, which is targeting a zero-casualty rate, has advised fishermen in Palawan and in the eastern portions of the country, including Bicol, Samar, Surigao, and Davao, not to go out to sea.
NDRRMC said over 3,000 families have already been affected by flashfloods in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat due to rains caused by a shallow low pressure area.