SUPERTYPHOON APPROACHES LUZON

Quezon City, April 19, 2003 -- Typhoon "Amang," with powerful center winds
of 150 kilometers per hour, moved closer to Southern and Central Luzon
yesterday, it was reported by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and
Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

"Amang" has been called "unseasonal" since there are not many typhoons at
this time of the year or during the summer months. But PAGASA's weather
forecaster Ricky Fabregas said "having a typhoon during April is not
unusual since the country also experienced it in April of 2001 and 2002."

Asked whether Metro Manila will be affected by the typhoon, Fabregas said
it will depend on the speed of the typhoon. In any case, he said, isolated
rains are expected over the National Capital Region (NCR).

As of 4 p.m., yesterday, "Amang" was located 720 kilometers (kms)
eastsoutheast of Daet, Camarines Norte, with sustained winds of 150
kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of 185 kph.

Still moving westward at 13 kph, "Amang" is forecast to be at 440 kms east
southeast of Daet, Camarines Norte by noon today, and at 150 kms east
northeast of Daet, Camarines Norte by tomorrow. By Monday, however, it will
be at 20 kms east of Baler, Aurora.
Storm Signal Number One remains in effect over Catanduanes, Camarines Sur
and Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Samar provinces as these areas will start to
experience rains with occasional gusty winds beginning today, PAGASA said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard already banned boats and ships
weighing less than 1,000 tons from going to sea while the typhoon is still
in the vicinity.

Philippine authorities issued storm warnings Friday in eight eastern
provinces bracing for the impact of typhoon Kujira, which was approaching
fast from the Pacific Ocean. The typhoon was moving westward toward the
Bicol region and the Central Luzon area and was expected to hit Saturday
afternoon, weather forecaster Elvie Tan Enriquez said.

The storm had center winds of 150 kph (90 mph) and gusts up to 185 kph
(115) mph, Enriquez said.

The lowest of four public storm alerts has been raised in the provinces of
Catanduanes, Northern Samar, Samar, Eastern Samar, Camarines Norte,
Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon.

"These areas will have rains with occasional gusty winds beginning Saturday
afternoon," while "coastal waters will be moderate to rough," Enriquez said.

The Philippine Coast Guard has banned boats and ships of less than 1,000
tons from going out to sea in affected areas.

Manila radio station RMN reported dozens of commuters have been stranded in
ports in the eastern provinces. Thousands of Filipinos have gone to resorts
or their hometowns for the five-day Holy Week or Easter break. (Bulletin)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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