Philippine News, Manila – Two people were killed by lightning and thousands have been evacuated, schools shut and flights cancelled, ahead of Typhoon Glenda’s likely arrival in Manila this morning.
The storm, also known as Rammasun, could hit Manila before midday with winds of 101 to 185 kilometers per hour (62 to 115 miles per hour), which will be enough to topple trees and electric posts.
Rammasun was at 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Legazpi City in Albay province at 5 p.m. yesterday, with maximum winds of 130 kph and gusts of as much as 160 kph, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on its website. Rainfall may be moderate to intense or as much as 20 millimeters per hour within the typhoon’s 500-kilometer diameter. Typhoon Glenda is expected to cross Metro Manila before noon today and exit Landmass via Zambales by this evening, PAGASA said.
“I reiterate, the objective has to be to minimize the casualties and the hardship of our people,” President Benigno Aquino told a national disaster council meeting in Manila. Warnings should be explained to the public, he said.
A 45 year old woman and her 18 year old son were struck by lightning in Batangas and three fishermen were missing yesterday off the island of Catanduanes, north-east of Legazpi City. At least 60,000 families have been evacuated in Bicol, according to Rafaelito Alejandro, director of the region’s civil defense office.
Schools will remain closed in more than a dozen cities and towns in Metropolitan Manila. Over 270 local and international flights have been canceled, while thousands of passengers are stranded at various ports as sea travel is suspended, the state’s disaster-risk agency said.
Flashfloods and landslides in low-lying and mountainous areas may be expected, while storm surges with height of as much as three meters may hit coastal areas, the weather bureau said. The storm may have winds stronger than storm Xangsane, which left at least 184 people dead after hitting Manila in 2006, weather forecaster Rene Paciente said on Monday.
Manila Electric Co. (MER), the Philippines’ largest power retailer which supplies Manila and nearby provinces, warned of blackouts. In a statement, the company said it had asked billboard owners to roll their billboards up to avoid causing outages.
More than a thousand Haiyan survivors in Tacloban, fled to an indoor government stadium early Tuesday following the storm surge warning.
“We’re terrified of storm surges,” said mother of three Mary Ann Avelino, 26. She said her family had temporarily abandoned their shelter in the ruins of their coastal home to sit out the new typhoon on higher ground.
Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm ever known to have hit land, killed more than 6,200 people in the Eastern Visayas in November, with another thousand still missing. Haiyan had top winds of almost 315 kph (196mph) and winds gusted as high as 378 kph (235 mph), the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.
Although Rammasun passed very close Northern Samar yesterday, one of the areas hardest hit by Haiyan, the majority of the EV region has been spared the worst effects on this occasion.