MANILA - (UPDATE) Metro Manila may experience rains from thunderstorms brought about by Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) starting Friday until the weekend, the state weather bureau said Thursday.
PAGASA weather specialist Chris Perez said the capital is likely to be affected only along its "outermost periphery," which is about 500 kilometers away from the eye of the typhoon.
"Lahat, basta within the storm periphery ay kailangang maging handa sa pagdating ng bagyo," he told radio DZMM.
(Everyone within the storm periphery needs to prepare for the typhoon.)
While Metro Manila may experience rains, it is unlikely to experience heavy flooding, Prof. Mahar Lagmay of the University of the Philippines-Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) center explained.
"Hindi naman ganun din kalakas yung habagat rains. Mag-uuulan pero di kasing lakas ng Ondoy sa Metro Manila," he told radio DZMM.
(The southwest monsoon rains are not that strong. It will rain but not as strong as Ondoy in Metro Manila.)
Floods brought about by localized thunderstorms occasionally swamp the Philippine capital.
In 2009, Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) submerged vast swaths of Metro Manila, leaving 464 people killed.
Metro Manila will feel Ompong's effect anytime on Friday, and the weather bureau is not ruling out the possibility of raising storm signal 1 over the area, said Perez.
Ompong, on the other hand, is expected to bring heavy rains over northern Luzon, Lagmay said. Earlier estimates say Ompong may directly hit Cagayan on Saturday morning.
The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, Ompong is expected to peak at gusts of up to 270 kilometers per hour on Thursday before easing to still dangerous velocities as it approaches land.
While Metro Manila is not in Ompong's direct path, local officials are still preparing for the typhoon.
On Wednesday, authorities have rolled up billboards and tarpaulins in preparation for the possible strong winds brought by the typhoon.
Water concessionaire Maynilad also asked its customers in the metro to store water to ensure that they have enough supply should the company be forced to lessen the water production due to the typhoon.
In Quezon City, drainages have been inspected in preparation for possible flooding.
In the event that locals need to seek safer grounds, evacuation camps in low-lying villages such as Barangay Bagong Silangan and Roxas have also been prepared.
There are a total of 84 evacuation sites in Quezon City.
Rescue teams in Valenzuela City meanwhile have been placed on heightened alert while relief goods for over 5,000 families are already in place.
Chest-deep floods are not new to Valenzuela City with around 15 villages classified as flood-prone areas.
The local disaster risk reduction and management office of the city said it has enough equipment and manpower in the event that an evacuation is necessary.
-with a report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News
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