Blue alert as Bagyong ‘Butchoy’ nears Philippines

Southwest monsoon affecting Luzon. Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm (Int’l Name: GUCHOL) was estimated 1,110 km East of Northern Mindanao (10.5°N, 136.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. It is moving West Northwest at 20 kph.

Luzon will experience occasional rains becoming frequent over the western section which may trigger flashfloods and landslides. The western section of Visayas and of Mindanao will have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms. The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the Southwest will prevail over the whole arhipelago with moderate to rough seas.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is now on blue alert as a storm (international name: Guchol) continues to move towards the country.

The weather disturbance will be named “Butchoy” once it enters the Philippine area of responsibility by late Thursday or early Friday.

Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said they have been coordinating with local government units in preparation for the storm’s arrival.

“Pinaigting na ‘yung pag-organize ng emergency response units ng cities and municipalities,” he told ANC’s “Primetime” on Wednesday.

Ramos also said residents of northern Mindanao have been warned of floods and landslide that may occur because of the bad weather.

He added that the public is now more vigilant in preparing for disasters.

“Nakikinig na ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa palaging experience nila at sa lessons learned, lalo na ‘yung sa Sendong,” he said.

The NDRRMC, which is targeting a zero-casualty rate, has advised fishermen in Palawan and in the eastern portions of the country, including Bicol, Samar, Surigao and Davao, not to go out to sea.

The Philippine Coast Guard is also set to issue advisories if big ships will be allowed to sail.

NDRRMC said over 3,000 families have already been affected by flashfloods in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat due to rains caused by a shallow low pressure area.

Butchoy is not expected to make landfall but it may bring more rains to the Mindanao region.

Weather bureau PAGASA and other government agencies are also on blue alert for the incoming storm. — with reports from Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News; ANC

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