Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Basyang now typhoon; DepEd suspends elementary classes

Pre-school and elementary classes in private and public schools in a number of provinces in Luzon, including Metro Manila, were suspended as Tropical Storm Basyang intensified into a typhoon and changed direction, this time heading toward Central Luzon.

"Basyang" increased its strength and the change in direction prompted the Department of Education (DepEd) to suspend afternoon classes in pre-school and elementary classes in both public and private schools.

"Tinatawagan po lahat ng ating school division superintendents na mag-suspend ng classes kung Signal No. 1 sa NCR, pre-elementary and elementary," said Dr. Flordeliza Magday, officer in charge of the DepEd NCR.

Magday said the suspension only covered afternoon classes because students in the morning had already gone home by this time.

In its latest advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Basyang – which was earlier thought to make landfall over the northern Luzon province of Isabela – is now expected to first hit the Aurora-Quezon area.

PAGASA director Prisco Nilo said in a press conference that the typhoon was moving west, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kph with a gustiness of 150 kph.

It was last spotted 90 km North of Virac in Catanduanes, traveling west at 22 kph.

"Kahapon toward northern Luzon. Ngayon mataas na ang probability na Central Luzon. Iyon na siguro ang worst case scenario, sa Central Luzon na yan at tatawid ng bandang Pangasinan or Zambales area," Nilo said.

Basyang is expected to make landfall Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, he added.

Placed under Storm Signal No. 3 were Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Aurora, and northern Quezon including Polilio Island.

Nine provinces were placed under Storm Signal No. 2 including:

- Camarines Sur
- Southern Quezon
- Laguna
- Rizal
- Bulacan
- Nueva Ecija
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Quirino
- Ifugao
- Isabela.
Under Storm Signal No. 1 were:

- National Capital Region (Metro Manila)
- Albay
- Marinduque
- Batangas
- Cavite
- Bataan
- Pampanga
- Zambales
- Tarlac
- Pangasinan
- La Union
- Benguet
- Mt. Province
- Ilocos Sur
- Kalinga
- Apayao
- Abra
- Cagayan Ifugao
- Abra

Heading westward

Nilo said Basyang is headed westward toward Central Luzon, adding that people in southern Luzon would also be affected by rains because the typhoon has also intensified the southwest monsoon.

Pagasa warned residents in the affected areas, especially those living in coastal areas, against possible flooding, landslides, and rough to high waves.

There's good news

But the change in Basyang's path also brings good news, according to Susan Espinueva, officer in charge of Pagasa's hydro-meteorology division.

Espinueva said Basyang's rains could help ease the 23.4 water deficit facing the Angat Dam in Bulacan, which supplies most of Metro Manila's water needs.

"Ngayon ang aasahan natin sa pagdaan ni Basyang sa Luzon, mahahagip ang Angat Dam. Dahil sa rain band ni Basyang aasahan natin ang pag-akyat ng level ng Angat," she said.

She said the Angat Dam needs at least 600 millimeters of water before the water level in it "normalizes" and reached the 181-meter level.

Based on satellite data and on the rains that it has so far brought, Basyang is expected to bring rains of between 100 to 150 mm, she said.

Espinueva said the Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija and the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan are likewise expected to benefit from Basyang's rains.

Sea travel

Coast Guard commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo was quoted in a radio dzBB report as saying 340 passengers have already been stranded in ports after vessels in Catanduanes and Albay had been barred from setting sail.

Vessels weighing 1,000 tons or lighter are disallowed from traveling in areas under Signal No. 1. Meanwhile, all vessels, regardless of wieght, are barred from setting sail in areas under Signal No. 2.

Over at the Araneta Center Bus Terminal in Quezon City - one of the biggest bus terminals in Luzon - trips to southern Luzon and Visayas have yet to be canceled, according to general manager Mon Legazpi. — Mark Merueñas/LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV

When do we call a storm a storm? State weather forecasters use this guide when classifying weather disturbances visiting Philippine territory. 'Basyang' has maximum winds of a typhoon. Source: Pagasa

3 Day Weather Summary OLONGAPO CITY: Heavy rain (total 178mm), heaviest during Wed afternoon, Warm (max 30°C on Tue morning, min 26°C on Wed afternoon)

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