STRONG winds and heavy rains triggered by typhoon Rosita hit Dinapigue, Isabela around 4 in the morning yesterday as police, military and civilian rescuers prepared for massive search, rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations in areas affected as the typhoon made landfall in Northern Luzon, officials said.
In an interview over DzMM, Dinapigue Mayor Reynaldo Derije said his town was isolated after “Rosita” made landfall in their area, toppling power and communication lines and flooding at least six villages and heavily damaging some road networks and bridges. Weather forecasters said that the typhoon packed maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour and 210 kph gust.
As “Rosita” headed to La Union yesterday afternoon, seven areas in Luzon remained under Signal No.3.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised Signal No.3 in Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and La Union.
The typhoon is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility this evening.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported no casualties or missing persons as of noon yesterday although it was monitoring the situation in Isabela particularly in Dinapigue amid reports that floodwaters and debris have rendered roads impassable to motor vehicles. Derije said around 1,140 families were evacuated to safer places before “Rosita” hit ground.
The weather bureau said that Rosita’s moderate to heavy rains may result in floods and landslides in northern and central Luzon.
Signal No. 2 meanwhile was raised over Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Aurora, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales and Pampanga.
The Babuyan Group of Islands, Bulacan, Northern Quezon including Polillo Island, Bataan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna and Batangas were placed under Signal No. 1.
Moderate to heavy rains will prevail over Northern and Central Luzon. PAGASA said that storm surges of up to 3 meters are also likely at the coastal areas of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has already ordered all Northern Luzon-based police regional units to be ready for all possible search, rescue and relief operations in their areas in anticipation of typhoon Rosita.
“I have alerted the Regional Directors of the Ilocos-Pangasinan Region, Cagayan Valley Region and Cordillera to activate their respective disaster response implementing plans in coordination with Local Government Units and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council agencies in anticipation of possible destructive effects of typhoon Rosita that is expected to cut across Northern Luzon this week,” the PNP chief told a press briefing on Monday.
Gen. Albayalde likewise alerted all PNP specialized search and rescue units as well as augmentation forces from the nearby regions to be prepared to provide support when needed.