|MTSAT ENHANCED IR Satellite Image for 11:32 a.m., 14 June 2012. Image courtesy of PAGASA
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Tropical storm "Butchoy"(international codename: Guchol) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday morning, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
“As of 9 a.m., pumasok na nga po yung bagyong si Butchoy dito sa eastern border ng Philippine Area of Responsibility,” said chief weather forecaster Robert Sawi.
Based on PAGASA's 11 a.m. press briefing, Butchoy was spotted moving west northwest at 24 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph and gustiness of up to 100 kph.
“Butchoy will be felt late tomorrow or early morning of Saturday over eastern Visayas and Bicol Region, pero ang ibig sabihin monsoon ang dala-dala,” Sawi said.
Sawi said it will be cloudy in western Luzon and Visayas and rainy in most of Luzon, but this is due to a monsoon trough or a series of low pressure areas (LPA), and not “Butchoy”.
He said “Butchoy” won't make landfall in Luzon and is expected to exit the PAR on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
“Sa analysis natin, hindi ito magla-landfall, but then, ayaw kong alisin yung possibility na mag-deviate to the left para dumikit lalo sa eastern section ng Visayas at Mindanao,” he said.
PAGASA has asked fishermen not to venture out into the seas off northern and western Luzon, western Visayas and eastern Mindanao.
Public and local disaster risk reduction managers are also urging the public to prepare and take precautionary measures.
“Butchoy” is the second storm to enter the country this year.
Meantime, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) also alerted local government units affected by the LPA and “Butchoy”.
NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos issued a warning to residents of Mindanao, particularly Sarangani, Davao, and Surigao del Sur to brace for flash floods.
“Sa Mindanao, wala pa nga si 'Butchoy', yung low pressure area dito nagbabaha na nga sa Sarangani Province. Mayroon tayong casualties dito dalawa, tapos may 58 pa din missing dahil sa flashflood,” said Ramos.
“Let it not be said na hindi naabisuhan na naman ang local government at saka ang ating mga kababayan,” he warned.
Magat Dam, critical
Authorities are also monitoring the water levels in reservoirs. They are particularly monitoring Magat Dam in Northern Luzon, which stands in danger of overflowing.
“Yung tubig na dala ng joint forces ni Butchoy at habagat, kung 15-25 [expected rainfall] plus dala ng habagat, kaya niyang punuin lahat ng mga dam. So, ang critical ngayon ay ang Magat Dam,” Ramos said.
PAGASA said Magat Dam is just 4.15 meters short from overflowing.
“Napaka-reactive ng Magat Dam. Doon pumupunta yung mga ulan. Ini-expect natin na magbubukas ng gates ang Magat Dam,” said PAGASA’s Roy Badillo.