Filipinos are bracing for a powerful typhoon that is expected to make landfall in the Aurora-Quezon area Sunday evening or early Monday, with the weather bureau warning of winds of 175-195 kilometers per hour.
The weather bureau said Typhoon “Rolly” (international name Goni), was spotted 980 km east of Casiguran, Aurora at 4 p.m. with maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h near the center and gustiness up to 230 km/h It was moving westward at 20 km/h.
Tropical cyclone wind signal no. 1 was in effect in Catanduanes.
“The typhoon is forecast to continuously intensify over the Philippine Sea and is likely to make landfall at intensity of 175-195 km/h,” the weather bureau said.
The weather bureau said Rolly—categorized by the Japan Meteorological Agency as a “violent” typhoon—could cut across Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan and Zambales.
It is likely to bring heavy to intense rains over Northern and Central Luzon and the Bicol region along the typhoon’s track beginning Saturday or Sunday.
It will also bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains over the Bicol region, Eastern and Central Visayas, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula, Batanes, Cagayan and Isabela.
Storm surges of up to two meters may also be experienced over the coastal areas of Aurora, Quezon, Marinduque, Bicol Region, and Northern Samar, the weather bureau said.
Undersecretary Ric Jalad, director of the Office of Civil Defense, said Rolly’s powerful winds could cause heavy damage to high-risk structures, medium-built structures and dislodge signs.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday activated all of its units to assist disaster response efforts ahead of Rolly’s arrival.
AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the military’s disaster response units are specifically trained and equipped to conduct search, rescue, and retrieval operations. Other assets are also available for the transport of relief goods, road clearing, and damage assessment operations, he said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi called on the members of the energy sector to prepare for the impending impact of Typhoon Rolly during a virtual meeting of the DOE-led Task Force on Energy Resiliency.
“The energy sector must be well-prepared to effectively prevent and minimize potential damage to our energy facilities. Without sacrificing the safety of our personnel, we must also be ready to respond immediately and conduct rapid damage assessments should the typhoon leave a trail of destruction in its wake,” Cusi said.
Energy industry stakeholders have already been alerted to activate their respective disaster risk preparedness and response protocols.
Cusi directed the National Electrification Administration to mobilize its Task Force Kapatid for the immediate restoration of power in areas that would be affected by Typhoon Rolly, while the National Power Corp.; Philippine Independent Power Producers Association; National Grid Corporation of the Philippines; and the Manila Electric Company have assured Cusi that they have learned from their experiences with previous typhoons and are ready with their contingency and response plans.
Cusi said he has again asked oil companies to secure the proper fuel inventory levels, and reminded them on the implementation of a price freeze on household liquefied petroleum gas and kerosene products should there be areas placed under a state of calamity.
Meralco said it would immediately respond to power outages that might result from the typhoon.
“As a 24–hour service company, we are committed to respond to these types of emergencies. Our crews are on standby to attend to any trouble that may affect our facilities in areas that might be hit by the typhoon,” Meralco spokesperson and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said.
Zaldarriaga added that Meralco has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the possible impact of Typhoon Rolly.
The company, for example, has continued to issue advisories on the appropriate precautionary measures to take before a typhoon.
“Meralco, for instance, has consistently requested billboard owners and operators to temporarily roll their billboards up to prevent these structures from being toppled by the strong winds,” Zaldarriaga said.
Billboards that fall into electrical facilities are among the main reasons for power outages whenever there are strong winds.
On Friday, the National Electrification Administration said the damage incurred by electric cooperatives as a result of Typhoon “Quinta” reached P50.92 million.
NEA said in a statement Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ORMECO) was hardest hit with P14.659 million in initial damage, based on the monitoring of the NEA Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (DRRMD) as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines said it might have to cancel or adjust flights scheduled for Nov. 1 and 2 due to bad weather.
In a statement, PAL officials said they are closely monitoring the track of Typhoon Rolly, which is expected to hit the Luzon area by Sunday (Nov. 1.)
“If necessary, for urgent safety reasons, Philippine Airlines may have to cancel certain flights or adjust schedules, possibly for Nov. 1 (Sunday) and Nov. 2 (Monday),” said PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna.
PAL advised passengers traveling on a flight to and from Manila on Nov. 1 or 2 to check the status of their flights before proceeding to the airport, and “watch out for our flight advisories and updates on the PAL Facebook Page and on the web at www.philippineairlines.com.”
“We will keep you informed on developments, as we carry out measures to secure our aircraft and ground equipment in Manila and in Clark,” Villaluna said.
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