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’Egay’ to peak just under super typhoon level

Typhoon “Egay” is forecast to continue intensifying and become a super typhoon by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Should it shift closer to the landmass of Luzon, however, Egay may peak at an intensity just below the super typhoon threshold, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

It may weaken by Wednesday afternoon or evening as it enters the cooler waters southwest and west of Taiwan, it added.

A total of 17 areas were placed under storm signal No. 2 on Monday, with Metro Manila and its neighboring areas under signal No. 1.

Two people drowned in separate incidents in Pangasinan over the weekend as the province’s disaster management office urged residents to avoid swimming in oceans and rivers with Egay’s influence on the southwest monsoon.

Close to 5,000 passengers were also stranded in ports in Bicol Region and Northern Samar as authorities canceled sea trips over the adverse weather conditions.

Iloilo City also suspended classes in all levels as heavy rains flooded the western Visayas metropolis, the latest local government to do so with the growing threat of the tropical cyclone.

Egay is forecast to track north-northwestward in the next 12 hours before turning generally northwestward and heading closer to the landmass of Northern Luzon toward the Luzon Strait.

The typhoon is forecast to cross the Luzon Strait and make landfall or pass very close to the Babuyan Islands-Batanes area between Tuesday late evening and Wednesday morning.

Pagasa said Egay may exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday.

The center of the typhoon was estimated at 500 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 155 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 190 km/h, it was moving north-northwestward at 10 km/h.

Tropical cyclone wind signal no. 2 was raised in Catanduanes, the eastern portion of Albay, the northern portion of Camarines Norte, the eastern portion of Camarines Sur, Isabela, the northern and central portions of Aurora, Quirino, Cagayan, including Babuyan Islands, Apayao, Kalinga, the central, eastern portion of Mountain Province, the eastern portion of Nueva Vizcaya, the eastern portion of Ifugao, central and eastern portions of Abra, Ilocos Norte, Batanes and the northeastern portion of Northern Samar.

Signal no. 1 was hoisted over Sorsogon, Masbate, including Ticao Island, Burias Island, the rest of Albay, the rest of Camarines Sur, the rest of Camarines Norte, the rest of Abra, the rest of Mountain

Province, the rest of Ifugao, the rest of Nueva Vizcaya, Quezon including Pollilo Islands, the rest of Aurora, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, the central and eastern portions of Romblon, the northern and central portions of Batangas, Eastern Samar, the rest of Northern Samar, Samar, Biliran, the northern and central portions of Leyte and the northern portion of Cebu, including Bantayan Islands and Camotes Islands.

About 3,300 families or about 11,185 people in Western Visayas and Northern Mindanao have been affected by bad weather due to the southwest monsoon (habagat) and Typhoon Egay, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Monday.

Of this figure, around 96 families or 348 persons are being aided in five evacuation centers while 218 families or 848 persons are served outside.

The Office of Civil Defense earlier said the affected families include those who are not required to leave their homes, but whose source of livelihood has been affected.

No casualties have so far been logged while seven houses were reported damaged in Northern Mindanao.

Ten domestic flights were canceled so far due to bad weather, officials said Monday, including four by Cebu Pacific, the Manila International Airport Authority said.

The weather bureau forecast heavy rainfall over Catanduanes beginning Monday due to Typhoon Egay.

Meanwhile, the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) also announced the cancellation of its flights from Manila to Laoag in Ilocos Norte, including its turnaround flights on July 25 and 26, 2023 in anticipation of the effects of Typhoon Egay.

Gervy James Gumarit, head of the communications and media office of Ilocos Norte, confirmed this on Monday, following an advisory sent to him by the PAL management.

“The cancellation of PAL flights to Laoag starting tomorrow until Wednesday is for everyone’s safety,” he said in a statement.

The country’s two largest telecommunications companies on Monday said their mission-critical manpower and equipment are ready for the potential impact of Typhoon Egay.

Globe Telecom Inc. said it has placed technical and support personnel, as well as critical supplies, in areas where the storm may pass or else trigger enhanced monsoon rains.

The Ayala-led company also said their facilities are equipped with generators and alternative power sources to ensure power supply and prevent commercial power outages from affecting the delivery of connectivity services.

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) remain on standby with mission-critical manpower and equipment already positioned in areas along the routes of Egay which has now intensified into a typhoon.

“We are continuously monitoring the current situation due to typhoon Egay and any impact it may have as it maintains its strength over Philippine seas. Our emergency operations teams and network satellite offices have been preparing since the first-issued weather advisory,” said Cathy Yang, First Vice President and Head of Group Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart.

In his State of the Nation Address Monday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said his administration is reorganizing a “more adaptable, agile and effective” response teams to ensure the disaster preparedness of the Philippines, the most typhoon-prone country in the world.

Marcos said the government continues to be “alert and prepared” to mitigate the potential impact of disasters.

He stressed that the country has learned “many painful” lessons from the catastrophic weather disturbances induced by climate change.

“It has, in fact, been commented that sometimes we are over-prepared for such natural disasters. To continue that, we are reorganizing our response teams to make them more adaptable, agile and effective in times of calamities and crises, with a clear unity of command,” Marcos said.

“Climate change is now an important criterion in our integral national policies, in planning, decision-making, up to the implementation of programs. The potential advantages of such enlightened policies extend to jobs and livelihood, with the unlocking of the development of the green and blue economies,” he added.

On April 30, Marcos signed Executive Order (EO) 24, creating the Disaster Response and Crisis Management Task Force to ensure a “clear unity of command to lead the government’s efforts in confronting challenges brought about by natural disasters through evidence-driven and science-based approach in crisis management.”

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