'Ofel' intensifies into tropical storm; 17 areas in Visayas, Mindanao under storm signals

October 24, 2012 9:23 am 

MANILA, Oct. 24 — At least 17 areas in the Visayas and Mindanao are under public storm warning signals as tropical depression ‘Ofel’ (international name: Son-Tinh) has intensified into a tropical storm and threatens the Caraga Region and parts of the Visayas, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Wednesday.

Weather Forecaster Chris Perez said that placed under signal no. 2 are the provinces of Southern Leyte, Dinagat Island, Surigao Provinces, Agusan Del Norte, Northern Agusan Del Sur and Camiguin Island. These areas are expected to experience 61 to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) winds within the next 24 hours.

Storm signal No. 1 (30-60 kph winds) is hoisted over Samar Provinces, Leyte, Biliran Island, Bohol, Cebu, Camotes Island, Negros Provinces, Siquijor Island, the rest of Agusan Del Sur, Northern Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.

Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signal 2 and 1 are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Likewise, those living in coastal areas under public storm warning signal 2 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this tropical storm.

Perez said as of 4 a.m. Wednesday the center of tropical storm was located at 90 km east of Tandag, Surigao Del Sur (9.0°N, 127.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

He added that Ofel is expected to make a landfall in Siargao, in the vicinity of Surigao within the day.

Ofel is forecast to move west-northwest at 15 kph. If it does not change its speed and direction, it is expected to be out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Saturday toward China, he said.

Cloudy skies with occasional moderate to heavy rains are expected over the western areas of the Visayas and Mindanao due to the effects of the tropical storm.

The rest of the country including Metro Manila will be partly cloudy to mostly cloudy with possible brief rainshowers due to localized thunderstorms.

PAGASA said those areas within its 400-km diameter are expected to experience rainfall of 5 to 20 millimeters per hour, which is classified as “moderate to intense.”

PAGASA said Ofel is expected to be at 60 km northwest of Maasin, Southern Leyte by Thursday morning; at 90 km northwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro by Friday morning and Saturday morning at 460 km west of Iba, Zambales.

The weather agency also warned fishing boats and other small seacraft not to venture out into the eastern seaboards of Southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao due to tropical storm Ofel and the northeast monsoon.

The coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough.

PAGASA also said a strong to gale force wind is expected to affect the eastern seaboard of Southern Luzon and Northern Samar.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves. (PNA)

FPV/CLTC

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