Thursday, November 22, 2007

Typhoon Mitag headed for the Philippines

This is from this site. This sounds as if it could be a disastrous storm. My wife has a house in Legaspi. Last year it was flooded during the typhoon Durian and I imagine it will flood again. My sister in law and her family will probably have to move upstairs or to another house as their house is in a low lying area. There have been heavy rains for some while so around the base of the Mayon volcano there are sure to be serious mudslides. I hope everyone gets to shelter but there seem always some people who stay where they shouldn't. Power is often knocked out for weeks. I remember when I was there I found it quite hot with no fans and no air conditioning in the bedroom for over a week! But then we were well off with a concrete house that could easily withstand the winds and rains.

Typhoon Mitag gaining strength, thousands evacuated in Philippines

Manila (AP): A tropical storm developed into a typhoon on Thursday as it powered toward an eastern Philippine region ravaged last year by flash floods and volcanic mudslides that killed more than 1,000 people, officials said.

Typhoon Mitag was packing 140 kilometer per hour (88 mph) per hour winds with gusts of up to 170 kph (106 mph) as it blew westward from the Philippine Sea at 15 kph (9 mph) toward the Bicol region around 4 p.m. (0800 GMT), chief government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said.

It could be a ``super typhoon'' with winds of over 220 kph (138 mph) when it makes landfall at the weekend, Cruz said.

Disaster officials said close to 46,000 people already have been moved to temporary shelters in 15 towns around Mayon volcano in Albay province, about 340 kilometers (213 miles) southeast of Manila.

In Sorsogon province, south of Albay, more than 900 people also were evacuated, mostly from villages in Irosin town, which is often hit by mudslides from nearby Bulusan volcano.

Another 2,275 people also fled flooded communities in Camarines Sur province.

Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon are among the six provinces of the Bicol region on the southern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, worried about a repeat of last year's disaster, has ordered mass evacuations in the typhoon's expected path and cut short her trip to Singapore, where she was attending an Asian summit.

Cruz said if the typhoon doesn't change direction, it will hit Bicol by Saturday morning or veer northwest and make landfall in Quezon province farther north the next day.

The typhoon is also enhancing northeast monsoon rains, drenching the eastern Philippines, he said.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has suspended classes so some schools can be used as temporary shelters.

Cedric Daep, executive officer of the provincial disaster office, said full evacuation of the most threatened communities along the coastline and in the foothills of the Mayon volcano will begin Thursday afternoon.

``It's been raining for many days in some areas, and these are ripe for landslides,'' said Glenn Rabonza, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense.

He warned that storm surges from a powerful typhoon could generate waves 3-10 meters (10-30 feet) high that could wreak havoc on coastal villages.

Typhoon Hagibis, which was forecast to hit Vietnam at the weekend, left 13 people dead in the Philippines, including seven people buried in landslides in Surigao del Norte province in the south.

Officials estimate up to 200,000 people may have to be evacuated in Albay, which last year bore the brunt of Typhoon Durian that triggered flash floods and unleashed tons of volcanic debris, wiping out entire communities and killing more than 1,000 people. About the same number of people died in 2004 in Quezon when it was hit by successive storms and typhoons.

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