Manila, Philippines – Signal No. 3 was raised in 10 areas as of late Friday morning, September 14, as Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) threatens the Cagayan-Isabela area, where thousands have already evacuated.
In a bulletin issued 11 am on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ompong is already 540 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, moving northwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).
The typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 205 km/h and gustiness of up to 255 km/h. Even if PAGASA does not yet classify Ompong as a super typhoon, it remains to be a powerful tropical cyclone with a huge diameter of 900 kilometers.
Below are the tropical cyclone warning signals in place.
Signal No. 3:
- Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands
- Mountain Province
- Nueva Vizcaya
- northern part of Aurora
Signal No. 2:
- Ilocos Norte
- Ilocos Sur
- La Union
- Nueva Ecija
- southern part of Aurora
- northern part of Zambales
Signal No. 1:
- southern part of Zambales
- Metro Manila
- Quezon including Polillo Island
- northern part of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
- northern part of Oriental Mindoro
- Camarines Norte
- Camarines Sur
- Burias and Ticao islands
- Northern Samar
Stormy weather is expected in areas under Signal Nos. 2 and 3, while there will be occasional rains and gusty winds in areas under Signal No. 1.
PAGASA warned there may be heavy to intense rain, storm surges in coastal areas, and very strong winds in Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region beginning Friday, and in Northern Luzon on Saturday, September 15.
The storm surge-prone areas in Cagayan and Isabela may experience storm surges up to 6 meters high – dangerous and potentially damaging.
Ompong might make landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area early Saturday morning.
PAGASA warned that when Ompong hits land, serious floods and landslides are possible, while many trees could get uprooted and homes made of light materials may be damaged.
Fishermen and others with small sea vessels are also advised not to venture out into the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signals, and in the eastern seaboards of the Visayas and Mindanao.
More than 4,600 passengers have been stranded in various ports. Several domestic and international flights have also been canceled.
Class suspensions were also announced for the rest of the week.
Based on its latest forecast track, Ompong might leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, September 16. It had entered PAR last Wednesday afternoon, September 12.
The typhoon is also enhancing the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat. The enhanced southwest monsoon could trigger moderate to heavy rain in the Visayas, and light to heavy rain in Palawan, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga.
Residents of areas affected by the southwest monsoon should be on alert for flash floods and landslides, too.