By Joel E. Zurbano and Charles Dantes
A total of 14,908 people or 3,821 families have been affected as of Wednesday by Typhoon “Betty,” which will continue to affect Batanes and northern Luzon and enhance the southwest monsoon or “habagat” until it exits the Philippine Area of Responsibility by week’s end.
Batanes is still under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 and may continue to experience gale-force winds due to Betty, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 8 p.m. advisory.
The erstwhile super typhoon, international name Mawar, maintained its strength as it accelerated northeastward over the sea east-northeast of Batanes, the state weather bureau said.
The center of Betty’s eye was estimated at 375 km east of Itbayat, Batanes on the way to Taiwan and Japan, moving northeastward at 10 km/hour, with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 150 km/h.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its 8 a.m. report affected persons were reported in 94 barangays in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, and Cordillera Administrative Region.
A total of 5,981 individuals or 1,815 families were preemptively evacuated, NDRRMC said, adding damage to infrastructure worth P68,695 was reported in CAR.
Also, a total of 123 domestic flights and 18 international flights were canceled in Cagayan, CAR, and the National Capital Region.
At least five houses were reported either partly or totally damaged in Ilocos, Central Luzon, and CAR, where power interruptions were experienced in 14 cities and municipalities, according to the NDRRMC.
More flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport were suspended because of Betty.
The Manila International Airport Authority announced that CebGo, the sister airline of Cebu Pacific Air (CEB), canceled 16 domestic flights, while Philippine Airlines’ PAL Express suspended two others.
In its advisory, the MIAA Media Affairs Division said CebGo canceled eight flights to and from Busuanga, four in Naga, one in Masbate and another in San Jose.
PAL Express, on the other hand, suspended its flights 2P 2037 and 2P 2038 bound to and from Caticlan.
In its 11 a.m. bulletin Wednesday, PAGASA said the northeastern portion of Isabela (Santa Maria, San Pablo, Divilacan, Maconacon, Palanan, Cabagan), Apayao and Cagayan, including Babuyan Islands, remain under TCWS No. 1.
Strong breezes to near gale strength winds may still prevail in these areas, but Signal No. 1 has been lifted in several areas in Luzon as Betty continues to move away from the country.
Betty is forecast to enhance the southwest monsoon, which will cause occasional to frequent wind gusts over Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Aurora, Quezon, the northern portion of mainland Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands, Mindoro provinces, Romblon, Ilocos Region and Cordillera Administrative Region that are not under any TCWS.
The enhanced southwest monsoon is expected to bring heavy rainfall over Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Antique, northern portion of mainland Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands.
Last Tuesday, CEB and CebGo also suspended 40 flights due to bad weather condition. Affected were passengers of flights going to and from Tuguegarao, Cauayan, Busuanga, Coron, Laoag, Masbate, Naga, and San Jose.
Also cancelled on May 30 were CEB flights in Cebu to and from Coron, and Manila flight to and from Taipei, and PAL flights in Manila going to and from Laoag and Basco.