MANILA - Typhoon Santi (international codename Mirinae) remains on track to affect Metro Manila and parts of Central and Southern Luzon Saturday morning after making landfall in Quezon province past midnight.
PAGASA weather forecaster Mario Palafox said Santi made landfall south of Infanta, Quezon at 12:30 a.m. He said the storm is forecast to maintain its strength of 150 kph winds and gusts of up to 185 kph.
PAGASA weather branch chief Nathaniel Cruz earlier said the storm is forecast to hit Camarines Norte, pass through Quezon province and the northern parts of Oriental Mindoro before blowing out to the South China Sea by Saturday evening.
"The storm is not expected to hit Metro Manila directly. The public should expect heavy rains all through Saturday although the weather may improve by Sunday," Cruz said in an interview on ABS-CBN's "Bandila" news program.
He said a high-pressure area in China is affecting the typhoon, pushing it slightly to the southern part of Luzon.
Public Storm Warning Signal no. 3 was hoisted over Metro Manila and 15 other provinces including Quezon, Polillo island, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro,
Occidental Mindoro, Lubang Island, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.
Storm Signal No. 2 is in effect over Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Zambales, Albay, Romblon, Calamian Group and Burias Island.
Storm Signal No. 1 is in effect over Isabela, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Sorsogon, Masbate, Ticao Island, Northern Palawan, Northern Samar and Northern Panay.
Cruz said commercial power supply in Bicol region and parts of Quezon province was cut due to strong winds brought by the typhoon.
Some 7,000 passengers were stranded in various seaports in Southern Luzon and Bicol region after the Philippine Coast Guard grounded ferries due to the typhoon.
President Arroyo earlier ordered the pre-emptive evacuation of all residents in low-lying areas and those whose houses are not sturdy enough to withstand the strength and rainfall of the coming typhoon.
The President said local officials in Guagua, Pampanga should maintain zero casualties in the province through pre-emptive evacuation and pre-positioning of rescue and relief facilities to vulnerable areas.
Gen. Nilo de la Cruz, Regional Disaster Coordinating Council 3 Chairman, said the RDCC has deployed 2,557 men from the Philippine National Police Region 3 in preparation for All Souls Day as well as the typhoon.
He said he has already coordinated with all regional, provincial, municipal, and barangay disaster coordinating councils on the need for early evacuation and pre-positioning of rescue boats and other facilities.
“If they will not follow our orders on pre-emptive evacuation, we will force them,” he said.