'Mina' stationary but likely to be more destructive - Pagasa
(Updated 11:54 p.m.) Typhoon “Mina" (international code: Mitag) has remained stationary off Bicol late Friday night but has started to affect Catanduanes and nearby provinces, state weather forecasters said.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) head Prisco Nilo said they are not sure when the typhoon would start moving again.
In its 11 p.m. advisory, Pagasa said "Mina" was 210 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes as of 10 p.m., packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph.
"Mina" was moving west at 11 kph and was still forecast to be over Virac, Catanduanes Saturday evening, then be 50 km southwest of Alabat, Quezon Sunday evening.
“It’s starting to affect Catanduanes and most parts of the region," he added, saying they expect the typhoon to continue gaining strength in the coming hours.
For his part, Pagasa weather forecaster Rene Paciente said the typhoon’s slowdown may bring bad news for areas that may be hit by the typhoon.
"For the last six hours kaunti lang iyong kinilos [ni Mina]. Masama yun kasi kapag mabagal mas destructive po ito at maraming masisiraan," Paciente said in an interview on dzMM radio.
At the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting in Camp Aguinaldo attended by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Nilo also said that as of 4 p.m. Friday, “Mina" packed maximum winds of 175 kilometers per hour (kph) and was moving west at 9 kph. The typhoon further slowed down to 7 kph as of 5 p.m., Pagasa said.
Nilo said they expect it to be over Catanduanes by Saturday evening, near Oriental Mindoro Sunday evening and west of Mindoro by Monday morning.
“By Tuesday, we would be expecting generally improving weather conditions," Nilo said, although at present, the typhoon will enhance the northeast monsoon and threaten small fishing craft.
Heavy rains were forecast for eastern Luzon and the Visayas, he noted.
During the conference, President Arroyo called for “strong measures" to prepare for “Mina," saying the winds from “Mina" may be three times as powerful as “Lando," which left at least 14 dead.
“This will be worse (than Lando) if we don’t take strong measures," Mrs Arroyo said.
Despite the typhoon's slowdown, Storm Signal 3 remains in effect in six areas including:
• Burias Island,
• Camarines Sur, and
• Camarines Norte.
Signal No. 2 is hoisted over at:
• Southern Quezon,
• Polillo Island,
• Masbate, and
• Northern Samar.
Areas still under Storm Signal No. 1 include:
• The rest of Quezon,
• Oriental Mindoro,
• Occidental Mindoro,
• Calamian Group of Islands,
• Western Samar,
• Eastern Samar,
• Biliran Island,
• Capiz, and
• Northern Leyte.