Severe Tropical Storm “Vinta” (International name: Tembin) has made landfall in Cateel, Davao Oriental, the state weather bureau said.
Vinta carries maximum winds of 90 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 125 kph. It is moving west at 20 kph, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 2 a.m. bulletin.
As of 1 a.m., Vinta was spotted 85 kilometers southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
The severe tropical storm is expected to exit Philippine territory on Christmas Eve.
Scattered to widespread and moderate to heavy rains are expected over Visayas, Caraga, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and North Cotabato within the next 24 hours, it added.
The following areas are now under Tropical Cyclone Signal Warning No. 2:
In the Visayas:
- Southern Negros Oriental
- Surigao del Norte including Siargao Islands
- Surigao del Sur
- Agusan del Norte
- Agusan del Sur
- Northern Davao Oriental
- Compostela Valley
- Davao del Norte
- Misamis Oriental
- Lanao del Norte
- Lanao del Sur
- Misamis Occidental
- Eastern Zamboanga del Norte
- Eastern Zamboanga del Sur
Meanwhile, signal no. 1 was hoisted in the following areas:
In the Visayas:
- Southern Leyte
- Southern portion of Leyte
- Southern Cebu
- Rest of Negros Oriental
- Southern Negros Occidental
- Dinagat Island
- Rest of Davao Oriental
- Davao del Sur
- North Cotabato
- Rest of Zamboanga del Norte
- Rest of Zamboanga del Sur
- Zamboanga Sibugay
Sea travel has been canceled in these areas.
Transport officials and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also issued advisories to commuters traveling during the holidays and to residents regarding their areas’ susceptibility to floods or landslides.
Transport officials cancel inter-island bus services to southern Philippines
Ahead of the approaching cyclone, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday stopped buses bound for Bohol and Dumaguete from proceeding to their destination.
However, buses bound for Samar and Leyte may still continue to their destinations, it added.
The LTFRB has also suspended roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) bus trips to the Visayas and Mindanao, adding that buses will not be allowed to travel to Mindanao starting 11 p.m. Wednesday.
Earlier, the LTFRB had extended the duration of special permits for buses because of the cyclone. This allows them to make trips outside of their authorized route.
Buses could travel two days earlier than originally scheduled beginning December 21, 2017 to January 3, 2018, the LTFRB said.
Interior Dept to public: Monitor weather advisories, town and city bulletins
The DILG has also urged the public to plan their holidays in line with official weather forecasts.
“Please do not be complacent and take heed of weather advisories, as well as your local government units,” said DILG officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy in a statement on Wednesday.
They cited the websites of PAGASA and Project NOAH (or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) for further information.
The public and local governments may visit the Mines and Geosciences Bureau’s Geohazard Map Portal, which has data and maps on flood-prone and landslide-prone areas.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has likewise advised residents in landslide and flood-prone areas to heed warnings and alerts from the government.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu urged residents staying along Vinta’s path to evacuate as soon as they are told to leave, in order to avoid casualties.
“Lives are more important than property. Let us all remain safe and alive, especially during this Christmas season,” he said in a statement.
Vinta may change its track unexpectedly and urged residents not to be caught unaware by the cyclone, he added.
The Environment Department has two mobile applications, AlertoPinoy and EnvironMentor, that show environmental information like flood- and landslide-prone areas which the public can access on their smartphones.
Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon brace for Vinta
The Misamis Oriental capitol in Cagayan De Oro was placed under red alert status this weekend as Mindanao braces for Vinta.
Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano said the local government and rescue teams numbering 500 of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office have “prepared what we can if it happens.” Eight province-owned hospitals are also getting ready to address medical needs of residents.
In Valencia City in Bukidnon, authorities are assessing disaster risk in 31 barangays, many of which are flood prone, especially those near the Pulangui River.
Stringers Alwen Sariling and Mel Velez contributed to this report.
SOURCE: CNN PHILIPPINES
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