(UPDATE 4) 'Pepeng' nears supertyphoon status
abs-cbnNEWS.com | 10/01/2009 11:54 AM
MANILA - Weather bureau PAGASA on Thursday said typhoon Pepeng (international codename Parma) is forecast to bring more rains and very strong winds in Northern Luzon including Metro Manila once it makes landfall Saturday afternoon.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, PAGASA said Pepeng has intensified further, now packing winds of 195 kilometers per hour near the center, and gusts of up to 230 kph.
As of 5 p.m., PAGASA weather branch chief Nathaniel Cruz said the typhoon was sighted 440 km east of Catarman, Northern Samar and is moving 24 kilometers per hour in the general direction of Northern Luzon and the Taiwan area.
The typhoon is expected to be 100 km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes or 300 km southeast of Baler, Aurora by Friday afternoon.
Cruz said the typhoon is forecast to make landfall over Aurora-Isabela by Saturday morning or afternoon. He said the typhoon will bring occasional rains over the eastern section of Luzon and Visayas and more frequent rains in Samar and Bicol Thursday afternoon.
Gale-force winds are also forecast over Visayas and Mindanao.
Storm Signal no.1 has been hoisted in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Quezon (including the Polilio Islands), and Aurora.
"Residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes under signal #1 are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides," the PAGASA weather bulletin stated.
"The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 11 P.M. today (Thursday)," it added.
Stronger than Ondoy, similar to Reming
Cruz, in an earlier press conference, said Pepeng is much stronger than last Saturday's tropical storm Ondoy (international codename Ketsana), which brought record amounts of rainfall and triggered the worst flooding in Metro Manila in 40 years.
"In terms of wind intensity, Ondoy was only half of the strength of Pepeng. When it made landfall, Ondoy only had winds of 85 kph while Pepeng is 175 kph. However, we cannot really compare the two because it was the rain that was really destructive about Ondoy," he said.
He added: "Our major concern with Pepeng is the disastrous winds - 175 kph to 210 kph. We expect typhoon Pepeng to intensify further as it moves towards northern Luzon."
He said the weather bureau will give a forecast on the typhoon's estimated rainfall intensity before it makes landfall.
Cruz also likened typhoon Pepeng to super-typhoon Reming (international codename Durian), which killed at least 734 people in the country in 2006.
"This could be like Reming. We are not just talking here about Metro Manila. We are talking of the entire Luzon area where there is probability of devastation in terms of flooding...and wind," he said.
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