[PHOTO -WET FLOCK Despite the downpour, a man clutching an umbrella feeds his ducks near Laguna de Bay in Taguig City. RICHARD A. REYES]

MANILA, JULY 31, 2012 (INQUIRER) Rains dumped by Tropical Storm “Gener” (international name: Saola) across the country flooded communities, swelled rivers, triggered landslides, damaged crops and roads, and canceled domestic flights as it moved toward northern Luzon.

A man drowned in Antique on Saturday, while more than a thousand people were evacuated in Negros Occidental and Maguindanao due to flooding.

Rough seas in Cebu province have forced boats to cancel their trips over the past two days.

[PHOTO -RAMMED BY BARGES: Residents salvage pieces of their homes after two empty barges rammed into shanties on stilts at a poor community in Manila, Philippines, Monday due to strong winds and waves spawned by tropical storm “Gener’’. AP]

In Metro Manila, authorities advised local government units on Sunday to evacuate residents near the Tullahan River because the water in La Mesa Dam was about to breach the spilling level. Excess water from the dam drains into the river that snakes through Quezon, Caloocan, Valenzuela and Navotas cities.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, Gener was spotted 380 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan, with peak winds of 95 km per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph, said the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). It was moving north-northwest at 15 kph.

Public storm signal warnings were hoisted over portions of northern Luzon as Gener, whose band of clouds has a diameter of 600 km, slightly intensified as it crept toward the country’s northern tip.

The Pagasa placed Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan groups of islands, and the Batanes Group of Islands under Storm Signal No. 2. It said sustained winds of 60 kph to 100 kph were expected in the province until today.

Any form of sea travel in the affected areas would be risky, the agency said as it reminded residents living in coastal areas to be on alert for big waves and storm surges.

Storm Signal No. 1 was hoisted over the provinces of Isabela, Kalinga and Apayao, as winds of 30 to 60 kph were expected to last until Tuesday.

The weather bureau advised against traveling on small seacraft and fishing boats.

[PHOTO - FROM ABS-CBN: Several establishments along the river in Marikina City are flooded in waistdeep water after the Marikina River overflowed because of continuous rains since Sunday night. Tropical storm Gener, passing the northernmost tip of the country, brought heavy rains to Luzon. Photo by Fernando Sepe, Jr. for]

The rest of Luzon and the Visayas will experience cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rain showers and thunderstorms, while Mindanao will be cloudy and may have isolated rain showers and thunderstorms.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest will prevail over southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao while winds from the northeast to northwest will prevail over the rest of Luzon. Coastal waters in these areas will be moderate to rough.

Pagasa warned residents in low-lying and mountainous areas against flash floods and landslides as heavy to intense rainfall was expected.

Gener is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon, bring rains over southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

At Ninoy Aquino International Airport, 17 domestic flights, mostly to Caticlan, Aklan, and mostly morning flights were canceled Sunday due to bad weather.

At Terminal 3, nine Cebu Pacific flights to and from Caticlan, the gateway to the resort island of Boracay, were canceled, according to an advisory issued by the Manila International Airport Authority at 2:30 p.m.

An Air Philippines flight from Manila to Caticlan and back was also canceled, along with two Cebu Pacific flights to and from Legazpi City and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, and a Zest Air flight to and from Legazpi.

In Isabela, the provincial government has set aside funds to provide fishermen, especially those in coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean, with cash assistance from July 29 to July 31.

Governor Faustino Dy III said P250-P300 cash was allotted a day to each of about 500 fishermen in the towns of Maconacon, Divilacan, Palanan and Dinapigue.

“It is as if we were buying what they would have caught, so they would not go out to sea while the waters are rough and dangerous,” he said.

In Central Luzon, the Pampanga River Basin’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Center said flooding was possible in communities along the Pampanga River from Nueva Ecija to Pampanga.

Josefina Timoteo, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), said heavy rains in Bulacan on Saturday night caused flooding in at least seven villages in San Miguel town. On Sunday morning, however, the floodwaters, which reached up to 2 feet, started to recede, she said.

Timoteo said operators of the Bustos Dam in Bulacan began releasing minimal volumes of water due to heavy rains.

In Occidental Mindoro, heavy rains caused landslides and massive flooding on Sunday.

Four sections of the 22-kilometer Mindoro West Coastal Road were rendered impassable due to road damage, provincial administrator Mariano Montales said.

[PHOTO -Residents in a village in Valenzuela wade thru floodwaters after continuous rains brought about by tropical storm Gener inundated parts of the suburb on Monday. Tropical storm Gener forced the suspension of classes in schools and the early dismissal at work in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Photo by Mark Cayabyab for]

Montales, quoting disaster authorities, said the rainfall exceeded 25 millimeters per hour, causing waist-deep floods on Pandan Island in Sablayan town and in Paluan town.

As of 1 p.m., Montales said residents were being evacuated.

“We don’t have reports of any casualty yet, but the rains damaged crops,” he said.

Local authorities ordered a preemptive evacuation of 60 families from Barangay (village) Burgos in Rodriguez, Rizal, early Sunday but they were allowed to return home at 1:30 p.m., according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In Antique, Ronald Necor, 33, drowned on Saturday after he was swept by strong currents in the Paliwan River in Bugasong town, according to the OCD in Western Visayas.

In Negros Occidental, a total of 238 families, or about 1,000 people, have been evacuated in Bago City and Hinoba-an town since Friday evening due to flooding.

Small landslides were reported in three barangays in Tigbauan town in Iloilo last week.

In Cebu, rough seas forced some vessels to return to their ports of origin, while others canceled their trips on Saturday and Sunday, stranding passengers.

Trips of the Cebu-based Starcraft vessels of Sea Highway Carrier Inc., which ply the Cebu-Bohol route, were canceled Sunday.

Clemer Lines has suspended all trips to Getafe since Sunday morning.

The MV Jun Mar 2, which serves the Camotes-Danao City route, and Cokaliong Shipping Lines’ noon trip for Palompon, Leyte, also canceled their trips.

An OceanJet 5 fast craft carrying 197 passengers and 13 crew from Tagbilaran City in Bohol ran aground as it approached the south entrance of Mactan Channel at past 8 p.m. on Saturday.

When a sister vessel, OceanJet 6, responded to rescue the passengers, it also ran aground on Shell Island, according to Punzalan. It went back to Pier 1 by itself while OceanJet 5 was towed by the tugboat Metro Tug 5 back to Pier 1.

In Maguindanao, 14 villages in at least three towns were submerged by floodwaters that swelled rivers draining into the Liguasan Marsh, the OCD in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said Sunday.

The affected towns include Kabuntalan, Northern Kabuntalan and Rajah Buayan, said OCD-ARMM Director Loreto Rirao.

“There are no reports yet of mass evacuation, but we are constantly monitoring the situation,” Rirao said.

He was referring to the inundated villages of Lower Taviran, Gambar, Butilen, Katidtuan and Pagalungan, all in Kabuntalan; Panadtabanan, Pidsandawan and Malibpoloc, in Rajah Buayan; and Montay, Tumaginting, Guiawa, Sabaken, Kapinpilan and Libungan, all in Northern Kabuntalan.

Initial reports from the agriculture department showed that some 40 percent of Buayan corn and rice crops had been damaged.

Rajah Buayan Mayor Jacob Ampatuan said a portion of the Liguasan Marsh within his municipality “that used to be visible has been submerged 3 to 5 feet deep.” Reports from Jeanette I. Andrade and Jerome Aning in Manila; Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon; Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Nestor Burgos Jr. and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas; and Charlie C. Señase, Inquirer Mindanao


Storm signals up as ‘Gener’ moves to North Luzon Published on 30 July 2012 Hits: 823 Written by Jing Villamente Reporter and Benjie L. Vergara Correspondent

[PHOTO-La Mesa Dam. File Photo]

MANILA, STORM signals were hoisted over seven areas in Northern Luzon on Sunday after tropical storm Gener intensified and moved closer to extreme northern Luzon.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) raised public storm signal No. 2 in the provinces of Cagayan, Calayan Group of Islands and Babuyan Group of Islands. These areas are expected to experience 61 to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) winds within the next 24 hours.

Signal No. 1 was hoisted in Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao and Batanes Goup of Islands.

Pagasa warned residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals against possible flashfloods and landslides. Those living in coastal areas under public storm warning signal number 2 were also alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by the tropical cyclone.

Pagasa said that Gener may generate 10 to 25 millimeter of rainfall per hour (heavy to intense) and will enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rain over Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, especially the western section.

As of 4 a.m. on Sunday, Gener was estimated 310 kilometers East of Casiguran, Aurora with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kilometers per hour. It is not likely to make landfall and is expected to head for Taiwan when it leaves the Philippine territory on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Gener is forecast to move northeast of Aparri, Cagayan this morning and north-northeast of Basco, Batanes on Tuesday.

Cagayan, including the Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands will experience a stormy weather, while Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao and Batanes Group of Islands will have rain with gusty winds.

The coastal waters along these areas will be very rough.

The rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, and Visayas will have cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Pagasa attributed this to the southwest monsoon and moderate to heavy rains expected Monday evening.

Dams near overflowing The La Mesa Dam management on Sunday afternoon called for immediate preemptive evacuation of residents near the Tullahan River as the dam neared its spilling level Sunday morning.

Teddy Angeles, La Mesa head-works manager engineer, said that the water level reached 79.59 meters, 56 centimeters away from the spilling level of 80.15 meters.

Angeles said that the excess water from the dam will raise the banks of the Tullahan River, potentially affecting Quezon City, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas Cities.

The water levels of Magat Dam in Isabela and Ipo Dam in Bulacan also reached near spilling levels on Sunday afternoon.

Flights cancelled Meanwhile, 15 domestic flights were cancelled on Sunday, according to the Manila International Airport Authority.

Cebu Pacific flights cancelled were Manila-Caticlan and Caticlan-Manila flights: 5J-893, 5J-894, 5J-895, 5J-898, 5J-913, 5J-914, 5J-892, 5J-919, 5J-920, and Manila-San Jose-Manila, 5J-513 and 5J-514.

AirPhil Express flights bound to Caticlan and back to Manila—2P-039 and 2P-040—were also cancelled and so as Zest Air flights to Manila-Legaspi-Manila, Z2-220 and Z2-22.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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