Western Visayas under ‘blue alert’ due to ‘Falcon’

A PORTION of Oñate-De Leon Street in Mandurriao, Iloilo City is flooded as heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Falcon and habagat pound Iloilo and the rest of Western Visayas. (Jennifer P. Rendon)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) placed Western Visayas under “blue alert” on Tuesday due to Tropical Storm “Falcon.”

In a memorandum issued by Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Jose Roberto Nuñez on Tuesday, the RDRRM Operations Center raised the blue alert status on local DRRM councils, including barangay DRRM committees in the region.

“All local DRRM councils are hereby instructed to raise the status of their respective operations center into blue alert for close monitoring and swift coordination with concerned agencies,” he said.

Aletha Nogra head of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Division of the OCD 6 said that the “blue alert” status would mean that all key agencies are required to report to the RDRRMC for fast coordination.

“The blue alert status would facilitate real time reporting in our area of responsibility kay gina-monitor naton ang six provinces and two highly urbanized cities,” she said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

While “Falcon” is not expected to make landfall in Western Visayas, Nogra said that they are still closely monitoring the tropical storm as it continues to enhance the Southwest Monsoon.

Gina-enhance sang Falcon ang Habagat so meaning madugangan ang ulan, possible mabaskog ang hangin and we are expecting heavy rains, thunderstorms, and even tornados,” she said.

According to Nogra, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) has already issued a yellow rainfall advisory in Panay island which means that flooding may be experienced especially in the low-lying areas.

“Yellow rainfall advisory which means there may be flooding in low lying areas, possible landslide in mountainous areas so kinahanglan mangin alert especially ang local government unit (LGU) level,” she warned.

Based on the data from PAGASA, “Falcon” has intensified into a Tropical Storm at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

PAGASA warned that moderate and heavy rains will be experienced over Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley,Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Zambales, Occidental Mindoro, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, and Guimaras until Wednesday afternoon.

“Residents in the aforementioned areas especially those living in areas identified to be at risk of flooding and landslides are advised to take precautionary measures, coordinate with local DRMM offices and continue monitoring for updates,” PAGASA said.

At 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, center of Tropical Storm “Falcon” was estimated at 335 kilometer (km) East of Southeast of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan and is moving West at 30 km per hour (kph) with a maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gusts of up to 80 kph.