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3 dead, 9 missing after 'Ofel' batters central Philippines

October 25, 2012 5:50pm
Ofel intensifies into storm; 17 areas under storm signals
'Ofel' intensifies into storm; 17 areas under storm signals. A DOST-PAGASA satellite image as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday shows the location of Tropical Storm Ofel at 90 kms. east of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph. It is forecast to move west northwest at 15 kph. At least 17 areas were placed under storm signals. GMA News
(Updated 6:46 p.m.) Three people were reported killed while nine others went missing after Tropical Storm Ofel (Son-Tinh) battered the Visayas region and Mindoro before moving towards the West Philippine Sea on Thursday, official reports said.
According to the 4 p.m. report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), one of the fatalities was identified as Sophia Recto, who died of hypothermia in Marinduque province.

Meanwhile, initial information from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) mentioned a second fatality — a 77-year-old who was hit by a falling tree in Concepcion in Romblon, dzBB radio's Roland Bola reported.

Another person died in a landslide in Oriental Mindoro, the radio report quoted the OCD as saying. The agency did not mention the names of the fatalities.

The NDRRMC sad nine persons were reported missing in the wake of the storm. Seven of them were identified as:
  • Jonrey Acaso, 28, from Southern Leyte;
  • Jonnie Fronda Ocson, 8, from Romblon;
  • Rigel Saycon, 18, from Cebu;
  • Abet Posto, 12, from Tacloban City;
  • Ariel Posto, 23, from Tacloban City;
  • Climente Umban, Jr., 50, from Tacloban City; and
  • Muhammad Kanape Guiamad, 11, from Cotabato City.

At least sixteen flights were canceled Thursday morning due to heavy rain and strong winds from the storm.

Classes for the day were suspended in all levels in Cebu City; up to the high school level in Albay; up to elementary level in Camarines Sur; and in all levels in Calapan City, Puerto Galera and Naujan in Oriental Mindoro.

Signal No. 1 in Metro Manila
In its 5 p.m. bulletin, PAGASA said Ofel was last spotted 200 kilometers west of Manila at 4 pm Thursday and was moving northwest towards the West Philippine Sea at 24 kilometers per hour.

The storm maintained its strength, packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kph and gustiness of up to 90 kph.

Storm Signal No. 1 remains hoisted over Metro Manila, Bataan, Zambales, Cavite, Batangas, and the northern part of Mindoro. Storm alerts for the rest of the country have been lifted.

The weather bureau warned residents within the 400-km diameter of the tropical storm to watch out for moderate to intense rainfall of up to 20 mm per hour.
The NDRRMC said bad weather had left at least 16,473 passengers, 97 trucks and cars, 37 passenger buses, 825 rolling cargoes, 106 vessels, and 50 motor bancas stranded as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
Power interruption was experienced in Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Marinduque.

At least 957 people in five towns of Eastern Visayas have been affected by the storm, the NDRRMC reported.
At least 38 houses were damaged in Romblon, the report said.

Better weather on Friday

In a radio interview, PAGASA forecaster Rene Paciente said Ofel had crossed Mindoro and may exit the Philippine area of responsibility as early as Friday afternoon, when better weather would be expected.
"Lalabas siya bukas na hapon o gabi ... Papunta na ito ng West Philippine Sea," Paciente told dzBB radio. — with Andreo C. Calonzo/KBK/YA, GMA News
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