Tropical storm Linfa triggers floods in northern Philippines

Tropical storm Linfa triggers floods in northern Philippines
Whipping waves: A man frolics in Manila Bay’s big waves splashing over a seawall near the fish port of Navotas City in Metro Manila. Tropical Storm “Egay” (international name: Linfa) made landfall in Palanan, Isabela province, on Saturday, intensifying the southwest monsoon that caused floods and landslides in western Luzon.
PHOTO: ARNOLD ALMACEN

Rain dumped by Tropical Storm "Egay" (international name: Linfa) triggered floods and landslides that slowed down vehicular traffic in major roads in Isabela, La Union and the upland Cordillera provinces on Sunday.

Strong winds and huge waves destroyed 76 houses and damaged 31 others in Cebu, Negros Occidental and Antique provinces as Egay, which has a 400-km-diameter cloud cover, whipped up the southwest monsoon in the Visayas.

The wind also felled trees, blew away billboards and damaged electric lines that triggered power outages in Iloilo City and the province of Iloilo.

Two tornadoes and flooding hit Negros Occidental. No casualties were reported.

Because of bad weather, 14 Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines Express flights were cancelled as of 1 p.m., Sunday.

Egay made landfall in Palanan, Isabela, around 10 p.m. on Saturday with maximum winds of 95 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 120 kph.

The storm moved slowly at 9 kph northwestward as it cut across Cagayan, Apayao and Ilocos Norte provinces where it exited the Luzon landmass by Sunday afternoon.

New storm Egay is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Wednesday afternoon, during which a storm with international name "Chon Ham" is expected to enter the PAR.

Chon Ham, locally named "Falcon," is not expected to hit land but it may pass close to the PAR boundary, according to government meteorologist Glady Salumbides.

Even after Egay's exit from Luzon, heavy rains will continue over northern Luzon since the storm has enhanced the southwest monsoon, Salumbides said.

She said rains would continue to be felt over the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, as well as Western Visayas for the next few days.

Egay pummeled the provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province, causing pockets of erosion that blocked a road linking vegetable-producing towns of Bokod and Kabayan, a portion of Halsema Highway leading to Mountain Province, and a road connecting Mountain Province and Tagudin town in Ilocos Sur province.

Volunteers and work crew deployed by the Department of Public Works and Highways started clearing these roads of debris.

Three families in Benguet's capital, La Trinidad, were evacuated from Barangay (village) Puguis, the site of a landslide in 2009, which killed 77 people.

No injuries were reported from Egay's incursion, except for a carabao that drowned and was recovered in San Mariano town in Isabela.

Continuous rain made the rivers rise in Isabela, causing floodwaters to submerge five overflow bridges on Sunday.

Heavy rain was recorded in the Dumayup and Magat watershed areas, according to Wilfredo Gloria, Magat River Integrated Irrigation System operations manager.

Isabela's coastal towns of Dinapigue, Divilacan, Palanan and Maconacon reported rough seas.

Outages

In La Union, 11 coastal coastal towns and San Fernando City were underwater due to the overflow of major river basins, said Melchito Castro, Ilocos director of the Office of Civil Defence (OCD).

"The major river basins swelled because of the rains. In San Fernando City, the major roads are no longer passable and the houses under water," Castro said on Sunday.

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