'Domeng' intensifies into tropical storm

08/05/2010 - THE fourth storm to enter the country has intensified into a tropical storm as it merges with a low pressure area in the coasts off Batanes Islands Wednesday.

In its 5 p.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) hoisted signal number 2 in Cagayan, Babuyan Islands, Calayan Islands, Isabela and Batanes Group of Islands.

Storm signal number 1 was likewise raised in Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Viscaya, Ifugao, Benguet, Mt. Province, Pangasinan, Kalinga, Abra, Apayao, La Union and Ilocos provinces.

Pagasa said areas under signal number 2 will experience stormy weather with rough to very rough seas while the rest of Northern Luzon, Nueva Ecija and Aurora will have rains with gusty winds.

"The rest of Luzon and Visayas will have cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms and the rest of the country will be mostly cloudy with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms," Pagasa said.

Domeng was spotted at 430 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes at 4 p.m. Wednesday, moving west at 19 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

The storm is expected to be at 40 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes on Thursday afternoon and 400 kilometers west of the area on Friday afternoon.

"We expect the storm to cross Northern Luzon. There is no change in direction as far as the models are concerned," Pagasa director Prisco Nilo told Sun.Star.

Pagasa warned residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under signal numbers 1 and 2 against possible flashfloods and landslides.

The state weather bureau added that the storm has enhanced the southwest monsoon that will generate moderate to rough seas as well as bring rains, which may also trigger flashfloods and landslides in other areas of the country.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said it has disseminated the new update on the storm through text messaging and facsimile.

The agency also asked the local leaders to disseminate the new developments through media and community radio stations and conduct press briefings as often as needed.

"This local effort will complement and reinforce efforts at the national level. Emphasis should be on proactive actions-evacuation rather than rescue," said the NDCC.

Quake jolts Davao

In another development, a magnitude-5.2 tremor rocked parts of Davao on Wednesday, more than a week after a swarm of earthquakes jolted Visayas and Mindanao. No damage was reported.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake was recorded at 8:43 a.m. and was tectonic in origin.

"The tectonic quake was due to the movement along the Philippine trench. Earthquakes are typically generated in that area," Phivolcs director Renato Solidum told Sun.Star.

The epicenter of the offshore quake was traced at 119 kilometers southeast of Mati in Davao Oriental at a depth of 59 kilometers.

Intensity 3 was felt in Caraga and Taragona, Davao Oriental while Intensity 1 was recorded in Cateel, Davao Oriental.

Last week, more than 250 aftershocks were recorded following a magnitude-6.9 tremor that rocked parts of Mindanao.

The Philippines sits on the "Pacific Ring of Fire" where continental plates meet, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity
(Sunstar)

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