Mawar strengthens into super typhoon

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The effects of Super Typhoon Mawar could be felt as early as Friday as it enters the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday.

PAGASA said Mawar – which would be called Betty when it enters PAR later this week – strengthened into a super typhoon at around 2 p.m. yesterday, and was located 2,2805 kilometers east of the Visayas by 3 p.m.

PAGASA said Mawar could enhance the southwesterly windflow when it enters PAR by Friday night or Saturday morning as it proceeds northwestward towards the strait.

It is not expected to make landfall but its trough is forecast to bring rains over parts of Northern Luzon.

The super typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 230 kph. It was moving northward at 15 kph and could move northwestward in the next few days.

The southwesterly windflow and localized thunderstorms are currently brining scattered and isolated rainshowers over Palawan, Manila and the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the frontal system is bringing cloudy skies with rains over Batanes and Babuyan Islands.

PAGASA warned of possible flash floods or landslides due to moderate with at times heavy rains.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos has ordered local government units (LGUs) to brace for the entry of super typhoon Mawar.

The DILG chief said LGUs, especially those in areas prone to landslides or floods, should implement critical preparedness actions, including supply and equipment prepositioning.

Abalos said they are aiming for zero-casualty nationwide with the proactive and preventive measures for Mawar. “We need to brace ourselves and get ready to avoid casualties and other damages expected to be brought about by this potential weather disturbance,” he added.

For his part, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said yesterday there are sufficient relief goods already prepositioned in areas that may be hit by Mawar.

“We have preposition goods everywhere in the country ... But then again they say the path (of typhoon) can change. So what we have done is we have augmented the stockpiling of food packs up north,” Gatchalian said, noting that they are paying close attention to the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon eastern seaboard.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has prepositioned its deployable response groups and Quick Response Teams in the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos Region in preparation for Mawar.

PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu instructed the district commanders to be alert and be prepared.

He also ordered PCG personnel to inspect all types of vessels departing port and inform fishermen to monitor the changes in the weather to avoid maritime incidents.

Search and rescue teams were placed on standby in case of inland flooding and they would have to render assistance to affected residents. – Sheila Crisostomo, Evelyn Macairan

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