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Super typhoon Juan makes landfall in Northern Sierra Madre

October 18, 2010 11:38am
PAGASA Weather Bulletin
Tropical Cyclone Warning:
Typhoon "JUAN" (MEGI)
Monday, 18 October 2010, 11 a.m.
SIGNAL NO. 4
(>185 kph winds)
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Kalinga
  • Mt. Province
  • IfugaoSIGNAL NO. 3
    (100-185 kph winds)
    • Babuyan Group of Islands
    • Calayan Group of Islands
    • Northern Aurora
    • Quirino
    • Nueva Vizcaya
    • Benguet
    • Ilocos Norte
    • Ilocos Sur
    • Abra
    • La Union
    • Apayao
    SIGNAL NO. 2
    (60-100 kph winds)
    • Polillio Island
    • Nueva Ecija
    • Pangasinan
    • Tarlac
    • Batanes Group
    • Rest of Aurora
    SIGNAL NO. 1
    (30-60 kph winds)
    • Cavite
    • Bulacan
    • Pampanga
    • Bataan
    • Zambales
    • Northern Quezon
    • Metro Manila
    • Rizal
    • Laguna
    • Batangas
UPDATED 12:45 p.m. — Thousands of families in Isabela and Cagayan provinces were evacuated to safety as super typhoon "Juan" (international name: Megi) swept across Northern Luzon on Monday.

Packing maximum winds of 225 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center, Juan slowed down as it made landfall in the Northern Sierra Madre mountain range shortly before noon.

According to the Twitter account of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the agency's Aparri Radar recorded that the 'eye' of typhoon Juan made landfall at Estagno Point near Divilacan Bay on the eastern coast of Isabela province at 11:25 a.m.

The rugged Northern Sierra Madre mountain range on the sparsely populated eastern coast of Luzon helps shields the fertile plains, and the north's food basket, from the ferocious winds.

Typhoon Juan is expected to exit the country from the Ilocos Sur and La Union areas tomorrow morning. The rainfall rate is 50 to 65 millimeters of rain per hour.

According to an Associated Press report, Juan carries "ferocious winds and heavy rainfall" and is the most powerful typhoon to threaten the country in four years. In 2006, typhoon Reming's 250 kph winds set off mudslides that buried entire villages and killed about 1,000 people in the Bicol region.

Trucks, rescue boats and food packs have been pre-positioned near vulnerable areas, said Benito Ramos, a senior disaster-response official.

"This is like preparing for war," he told the Associated Press. "We know the past lessons and we're aiming for zero casualties."

According to a CNN report, meteorologist Ivan Cabrera called typhoon Juan (Megi) a "monster storm" and warned that it could damage thousands of hectares of agricultural land along its path.

The storm could trigger landslides and floods as wide areas of northern Luzon will see 300 mm of rain, while more isolated pockets may see up to 500 mm, added CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.

PAGASA reminded residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under storm signals to take precautions against possible flashfloods and landslides.

It also warned residents in coastal areas under signals 4, 3 and 2 against possible storm surges.

Classes suspended in Regions 1, 2, CAR

Classes in all public, private preschool, elementary and high school levels in Region 1, 2, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) are suspended on Monday, October 18.

According to a media advisory of the Department of Education (DepEd), the schools in areas affected by the storm but are not under any storm signal will announce any suspension on Monday.

Well-behaved typhoon

Typhoon Juan was also described as a "well-behaved tropical cyclone" based on its climatological track.

"Typhoon Juan is a well-behaved tropical cyclone based on the climatological or historical tracks considering it follows the cliimatological track during the month of October," said Dr. Vicente Manalo.

PAGASA continues to monitor the storm with hourly observations. "It is possible there will be an increase of storm signals in Metro Manila," said PAGASA senior weather forecaster Robert Sawi, adding that Apayao should have been included in the areas under Storm Signal no. 3.

Sawi also warned that the Cordillera region is in danger of landslides. "Once we reach 100 millimeters of rain, napakalaki ng posibilidad ng landslide sa area (there is a strong possibility that there will be landslides)," he said.

"Lumiliit yung mata ng nasabing bagyo, magkakaroon na ito ng frictional effect dahil papalapit ng papalapit sa terrain ng Northern Luzon, yung Sierra Madre mountain. Inaasahang bahagyang hihina habang papalapit sa land mass ng Northern Luzon. After crossing Northern Luzon, at tatapak muli sa may South China Sea expected na lalakas uli ang intensity," said Sawi.

(The eye of the storm is getting smaller. This will have a frictional effect because it is moving closer to the terrain of Northern Luzon, the Sierra Madre mountain. It is expected to weaken as it nears the land mass of Northern Luzon. When it hits the South China Sea, it is expected to gain intensity.)

Meanwhile, Dr. Susan Espinueva said as of now, the rainfall is not enough to fill Magat Dam, a large large rock-fill dam located on Magat River, a major tributary of Cagayan River.

"Pagdating ng bagyo, inaasahan po natin na mapuno. Ang gusto natin, mapuno lang siya at hindi aapaw. Hanggat hindi po aapaw hindi tayo magpapakawala," she said.

(When the storm hits, we expect Magat Dam to be filled. What we want is to fill the dam, not overfill it. Unless the water overflows, we will not release water.)

According to her, if the need arises, water from Magat Dam will be released at a graduated pace.

Families evacuated

At least 3,066 people in Isabela and Cagayan provinces were evacuated amid the threat from super typhoon "Juan."

In its 7 a.m. report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) also said Juan caused the tripping of subtransmission lines in Cagayan.

The NDRRMC report said those "preemptively evacuated" in Isabela included 51 families or 280 people, including six families (30 people) from Divilacan and 45 families (250 people) from Dinapigue.

Evacuated from Cagayan were 576 families or 2,786 people, including:
  • 144 families (657 people) in Gonzaga
  • 150 families (750 people) in Sto. Niño
  • 250 families (1,250 people) in Rizal
  • 13 families (53 people) from Sta. Ana
  • 19 families (76 people) from Aparri.

    Subtransmission lines were damaged in Cagayan due to tripping but the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said these have been restored.

    Swept away by the strong river current

    A resident of Tuguegarao City, a candidate in the October 25 barangay elections, was reported missing after being swept away by the strong current of Buntun river in Cagayan province on Sunday.

    Radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo reported on Monday that 53-year-old Vicente Lattao Decena was looking for his carabao when he slipped and fell into the water in the river.

    Landslide in Apayao

    A stretch of road in Apayao province in northern Luzon posed dangers to travelers after a landslide occurred a road-widening project site there Monday.

    Radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo reported the incident occurred at 3:00 a.m., in the wake of heavy rains and strong winds brought by super-typhoon "Juan" (Megi).

    No one was reported injured in the incident occurred at Kabugao town in Apayao province. –with Carmela Lapeña, AP/VVP, GMANews.TV
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