MALACAÑANG yesterday urged local folks to brace for tropical storm Karen as it intensifies towards Metro Manila.
“We would like to encourage you now, encourage iyong mga kabayanan natin na mag-ingat, and to please make sure that ilayo po natin ang sarili natin sa peligro,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
Abella also said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned government agencies are on top of the disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures especially in affected areas and on the storm track.
Also yesterday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said that there are now more than 6,000 passengers stranded in different ports in Luzon and Visayas because of typhoon Karen.
As of yesterday noon, the PCG tallied a total of 6,692 stranded passengers, as well as 29 vessels, 30 motor bancas and 748 rolling cargoes.
Majority of the stranded are in Bicol -- with 2,756 passengers, 25 vessels, 14 motor bancas and 389 rolling cargoes.
A total of 1,705 passengers, 10 motor bancas and 164 rolling cargoes are also stranded in Southern Tagalog, while in northeastern Luzon, the tally is seven passengers and three motor bancas.
In Eastern Visayas, there are 1,220 passengers, one vessel and 195 rolling cargoes grounded; in Central Visayas, 960 passengers and two vessels; and in Western Visayas, 44 passengers, one vessel and three motor bancas.
PCG advises units to strictly implement the Coast Guard guidelines on movement of vessels during heavy weather.
Eight areas in Luzon were placed under Tropical Cyclone Warning (TCW) Signal Number 3 as it moved closer to Luzon’s landmass yesteray afternoon.
Areas under TCW Signal Number 3 were: Camarines Norte, northern Quezon including Polilio Island, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Aurora and northern Zambales.
PAGASA said areas under Signal Number 3 should expect 121 to 170 kilometers per hour of winds and storm surge. Wave height in open sea in the said areas are expected to reach 14 meters or nearly 46 feet.
PAGASA said in its 2 p.m. weather bulletin that Karen’s center was estimated at 120 kilometers north northwest of Virac, Catanduanes.
The typhoon is expected to make landfall over the Quezon-Aurora area between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. today (Sunday), the weather bureau said.
It is expected to cross Luzon before exiting the Philippine Area of Responsibility by early Tuesday.
The typhoon, moving west northwest at 20 kph, was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 130 kph near the center and gusts of up to 180 kph.
Areas within the 500-km diameter of the typhoon should expect moderate to heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile, Signal Number 2 was hoisted over: Catanduanes, the rest of Quezon, Quirino, Camarines Sur, Rizal, Bulacan, rest of Zambales, La Union, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ifugao, Benguet and southern Isabela, Areas under Signal Number 2 should expect 61 to 120 kilometers per hour maximum winds, storm surge and wave height in open sea from 4.1 to 14.0 meters (13 to 45.9 feet).
Signal Number 1, meanwhile, was raised over: Metro Manila, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, including Ticao and Burias Island,the rest of Isabela, Ilocos Sur, Romblon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bataan, Abra, Kalinga and Mt. Province.
These areas should expect 30 to 60 kph of maximum winds from the typhoon and wave height in open sea may reach 1.25 to 4.0 meters (four to 13 feet).
Meanwhile, PAGASA said it is also monitoring another tropical depression outside (PAR). It was last spotted at around 1,980 km east of Mindanao, packing winds of up to 45 kph and gustiness of up to 55 kph.
Traveling west northwest, the new storm is much faster at 13 kph.
Also yesterday, disaster management officials on Saturday placed the entire National Capital Region under Alpha Alert due to Typhoon Karen.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Romina Marasigan said “Alpha Alert” is a classification on the level of preparedness of local government units in accordance with the “Operation Listo” of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Under Alpha Alert, local governments shall make efforts to advice and warn residents in their respective areas regarding the typhoon.
Social welfare officers and emergency rescue personnel shall also be on standby for immediate action.