Wednesday, December 16, 2015

TYPHOON NONA | Bleak Christmas looms with widespread power outage

Bagyong Onyok next?

While typhoon Nona is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday, another weather disturbance may also enter PAR on the same day.

Quitlong said the low pressure area near Caroline Islands has a high chance of developing into a tropical depression which will be named Onyok as soon as it enters PAR (see image at bottom of page).


In the end, NonaPH's path was like this as tracked by Boac Typhoon Tracking System posted by @Pongkoy Maccabeus Manrique


Tattered lanterns, festive lights and tin roofs littered towns in Southern Luzon and the Visayas after Typhoon Nona (international name Melor) swept through, killing at least four people and leaving millions of people without electricity.

It toppled trees and cut power to at least seven provinces, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Distraught survivors surveyed their damaged homes on the eve of the traditional nine-day Christmas vigil that Filipinos observe with dawn masses and rice cakes.

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the Philippines, where 80 percent of its 100 million people are Catholic, and decorations such as colorful lights and lanterns have already been put up in most towns.

Electric posts lean precariously at Buenavista, Marinduque.
Photo: Paul Laster

Sad, dark Christmas
"It will be a very sad Christmas and a dark one because we have no power. But the important thing is everyone around me is still moving," 54-year-old rice farmer Noemi Pesigan told Agence France-Presse.

The typhoon blew out the windows of Pesigan's two-storey brick and wood house in Bulan, a small farming town about 350 kilometers southeast of Manila, and she survived the storm by sheltering in a nearby shop.

The typhoon tore in off the Pacific Ocean on Monday afternoon and hit farming and fishing communities in the eastern Philippines with winds of up to 185 kilometers (115 miles) an hour.

Flying debris killed a man in Northern Samar, national disaster agency spokeswoman Mina Marasigan told AFP, without being able to confirm three other fatalities.

The typhoon weakened slightly as it cut across the central islands of the archipelago, but on Tuesday afternoon its wind gusts were still reaching 170 kilometers an hour as it passed over the island of Mindoro.

It was due to move out into the South China Sea on Tuesday afternoon.

Early evacuation, no electricity
In Bicol, a vast region in the east often hit by typhoons, authorities credited the early evacuation of 720,000 people for what they believed would be a low death toll.

"We have zero floods, zero deaths, zero casualties," Joey Salceda, governor of Albay province, said.

But he added that the entire province of 1.2 million people was without power.

"What we are asking for is the early restoration of electricity," he said.

Residents of neighboring Sorsogon, which takes in Bulan town, were also without power on Tuesday, and authorities could give no guarantees if electricity would be restored by Christmas.

One person died of hypothermia while two others drowned in floods in the poor fishing town of Catarman in Northern Samar province in the Visayas region south of Manila, municipal disaster officer Jonathan Baldo said in a radio interview.

The storm made its fifth landfall over Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro around 10 a.m. and is expected to cross the island before heading to the West Philippine Sea in the afternoon.

Nona packed maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph, as it moved west at 15 kph.

Earlier, Pagasa said Nona, which made landfall over Romblon early Tuesday morning, is expected to weaken as it crosses the Mindoro landmass and interacts with cold winds beought by the northeast monsoon.

The storm is expected to exit Philippine area of responsibility by Friday as a low pressure area.


How NonaPH and incoming tropical depression "Onyok" looks as of today, December 16.
Infrared photo: JMA

Damage to airports
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) thru the Operations Rescue and Coordinating Center (ORCC) reported that Catarman Airport sustained structural damaged brought about the typhoon.

Area Center VIII Area Manager Mr. Danilo Abareta said that, as of 8:00am on Tuesday, among the heavily damaged airport facilities were the Fire Station Building, Terminal Building, whose roof was blown away by strong winds, the CAAP staff house, three guard posts, while partially damaged were the Flight Services Station Tower, Air Navigation Service Powerhouse, weather instruments, various signage and parts of the perimeter fence.

Abareta added that power and communication lines are down in the area of Catarman while other airports under Area Center Vlll comprising Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloaban, Ormoc, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Catarman, Borongan, Biliran, Guiuan, Hilongos, and Maasin in Leyte sustained minor damage.

He added that expect normal commercial operation is expected to commence in these airports as soon as weather improves and clearing operations are done.

Typhoon Nona also caused damage to Area Center V airports namely: Legaspi, Naga, Masbate, Virac, Sorsogon, Bulan and Daet airport in Camarines Norte.

Area Center V Manager Ms. Cynthia Tumanut said that, after clearing operations, weather permitting, all commercial operations will commence. Full story on InterAksyon

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