|MTSAT ENHANCED-IR Satellite Image 9:30 a.m., 03 December 2012. Image courtesy of DOST-PAGASA
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Twenty-four areas have been placed under public storm warning signal numbers 1 and 2 as typhoon "Pablo" (international name: Bopha) approaches land, the state weather bureau said on Monday morning.
In its 5 a.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Surigao del Sur and the northern part of Davao Oriental have been placed under signal number 2.
Signal number 1, on the other hand, has been hoisted in the following areas:
• Camotes Island
• Southern Leyte
• Eastern Samar
• Western Samar
• Surigao del Norte
• Siargao Island
• Dinagat Is.
• Agusan del Norte
• Agusan del Sur
• Rest of Davao Oriental
• Davao del Norte inc. Samal Is.
• Compostela Valley
• Misamis Occidental
• Misamis Oriental
• Lanao del Norte
• Lanao del Sur
Areas under signal no. 1 and 2 should expect winds of 30-60 kilometers per hour (kph) and 61-100 kph, respectively.
PAGASA said Pablo slightly weakened from its previous strength on Sunday evening. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph.
It was last spotted 645 kilometers southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur as of 6 a.m. It was moving west northwest at 24 kph.
PAGASA forecaster Rene Paciente said Pablo slightly changed its track, and will hit Surigao area on Tuesday morning.
"Sa ngayon, ang bagong tracking, bumaba ito ng bahagya. Papasok sa Hinatuan, lalabas sa Misamis Oriental and then sa Southern Negros and then northern Palawan," Paciente told dzMM.
Estimated rainfall is from 20 - 30 millimeters per hour (heavy - intense) within the typhoon's 600-km diameter.
Paciente said the direct effect of the typhoon will be felt Monday afternoon, when its outer spiral hits southern Mindanao.
Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas are advised against possible flashfloods and landslides.
Fishing boats and other small sea crafts are also warned against venturing out into the eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao due to large waves.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said its operations have been placed on red alert status as the typhoon nears land.
Pablo, which entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Sunday, is forecast to be the strongest to hit the Philippine landmass this year.
NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said local authorities have been ordered to warn their constituents against conducting fishing ang mining activities, particularly in Compostela Valley, Surigao and Agusan provinces.
"Two days ago binawalan na natin sila. Binabantayan na ito ng coast guard at barangay captains. [Para sa mga minero] nandyan ang Eastern Mindano Command at 4th Infantry Division ng Philippine Army," Ramos told dzMM.
"Umalis muna sila sa mga butas para maiwasan natin ang disgrasya. Nandyan naman ang lokal na pamahalaan at ang DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) para ma-augment ang pagkain nila habang binabawalan silang mangisda," he added.
Ramos hopes Pablo would lose its strength once it hits the Diwalwal and Diwata mountain ranges.
He also noticed the better preparation of local government units and residents this time due to the experience in Mindanao last year with tropical storm "Sendong".
"Maganda na ang reaction ngayon, di lang sa local government units, pati ang taumbayan, dahil may experience factor na sila. Nung tinamaan ng December 16 Sendong, tinuraun na tayo ng kalikasan, alertado na tayo ngayon," he said.
Meanwhile, Bicol authorities will continue today its monitoring of the Mayon Volcano's crater for possible lahar flow that will be triggered by rains from Pablo.