Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) Getting Stronger Now Packing 205 KPH Winds, Storm Surge Warnings Released

Villagers in the central Philippines fled coastal homes and triggered panic-buying in grocery stores and gas stations as a fast-approaching powerful storm brought back nightmares of last year’s devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Meteorologists from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) plot the direction of Super Typhoon Hagupit from their control room in Manila, on December 4, 2014 ©Jay Directo (AFP)
Meteorologists from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) plot the direction of Super Typhoon Hagupit from their control room in Manila, on December 4, 2014 ©Jay Directo (AFP)

Typhoon Hagupit — Filipino for “smash” — was packing sustained winds of 205 kilometers (127 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 240 kph (149 mph) over the Pacific, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) off the country’s eastern coast. Forecasts show it may hit Eastern Samar province on Saturday and barrel inland along the same route where Haiyan leveled villages and left more than 7,300 dead and missing in November last year.

In Manila, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday led an emergency meeting of disaster-response agencies and ordered steps to prevent panic-buying and hoarding of goods.

NASA satellite image shows Typhoon Hagupit building up strength as it moves towards the Philippines, on December 3, 2014
NASA satellite image shows Typhoon Hagupit building up strength as it moves towards the Philippines, on December 3, 2014

Aquino checked on the readiness of Philippine air force aircraft, hospitals and police contingency plans to deal with possible looting similar to what happened in Tacloban after Haiyan crippled the city’s police force.

With Hagupit still 700 kilometres from the Philippines, weather forecasters were not able to say exactly where the storm would hit and the government was yet to issue mandatory evacuation directives.

This would make it nearly as powerful as Haiyan, which had sustained winds of 315 kilometres an hour when it crashed into the Philippines.

Philippine weather forecaster Pagasa predicted lower winds, but still warned of potential devastation.

Some islands in the central Philippines would likely be hit by storm surges at least one storey high, according to Pagasa.

Be advised that residents in low-lying and mountainous areas under signal nos. 3, 2 and 1 are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas under signal nos. 3 and 2 are alerted against possible occurrence of 3-4 meter storm surges.

MUNICIPALITY, PROVINCE SURGE HEIGHT STORM SURGE ADVISORY (SSA)
 Capoocan, Leyte 3.26 – 4.26 3
 Leyte,  Leyte 3.26 – 4.26 3
 Carigara,  Leyte 3.10 – 4.10 2
 Barugo,  Leyte 3.06 – 4.06 2
 Cabucgayan,  Biliran 3.01 – 4.01 2
 Sn Miguel,  Leyte 2.92 – 3.92 2
 Caibiran,  Biliran 2.85 – 3.85 2
 Culaba, Biliran 2.85 – 3.85 2
 Babatngon,  Leyte 2.77 – 3.77 2
 Daram,  Samar 2.70 – 3.70 2
  Sta. Rita,  Samar 2.69 – 3.69 2
 Talalora,  Samar 2.69 – 3.69 2
 Zumarraga,  Samar 2.45 – 3.45 2
 Villareal,  Samar 2.44 – 3.44 2
 Kawayan,  Biliran 2.37 – 3.37 2
 Calubian,  Leyte 2.11 – 3.11 2
 Amlan,  Negros Oriental 2.10 – 3.10 2
 Samboan,  Cebu 2.10 – 3.10 2
 San Jose,  Negros Oriental 2.10 – 3.10 2
 Santander,  Cebu 2.09 – 3.09 1
 Oslob,  Cebu 2.08 – 3.08 1
 Ginatilan,  Cebu 2.07 – 3.07 1
 Tanjay,   Negros Oriental 2.07 – 3.07 1
 Malabuyoc,  Cebu 2.05 – 3.05 1
 Bais,   Negros Oriental 2.02 – 3.02 1
 Naval,  Biliran 2.02 – 3.02 1
 Bindoy,  Negros Oriental 2.01 – 3.01 1
 Manjuyod,  Negros Oriental 2.01 – 3.01 1
 Gen. Macarthur,  Eastern Samar 1.93 – 2.93 1
 CarLeytes,  Iloilo 1.92 – 2.92 1
 Estancia,  Iloilo 1.92 – 2.92 1
 Quinapondan,  Eastern Samar 1.92 – 2.92 1
 Giporlos,  Eastern Samar 1.87 – 2.87 1
 Salcedo,  Eastern Samar 1.87 – 2.87 1
 Biliran,  Biliran 1.86 – 2.86 1
 Pinabacdao,  Samar 1.78 – 2.78 1
 Calape,  Bohol 1.72 – 2.72 1
 Tubigon,  Bohol 1.72 – 2.72 1
 Daanbantayan,  Cebu 1.70 – 2.70 1
 Basilisa,  Dinagat Islands 1.69 – 2.69 1
 Sibulan,  Negros Oriental 1.60 – 2.60 1
 San Isidro,  Leyte 1.59 – 2.59 1
 Pilar,  Quezon 1.57 – 2.57 1
 President Roxas,  Capiz 1.57 – 2.57 1
 Mobo,  Masbate 1.56 – 2.56 1
 Santo Nino,  Samar 1.56 – 2.56 1
 Uson,  Masbate 1.56 – 2.56 1
 Kapatagan,  Lanao del Sur 1.55 – 2.55 1
 Cotabato,   Maguindanao 1.52 – 2.52 1
 Tabuelan,  Cebu 1.51 – 2.51 1
 Tuburan,  Cebu 1.51 – 2.51 1
 Almeria,  Biliran 1.50 – 2.50 1
 Maripipi,  Biliran 1.50 – 2.50 1

Do not evacuate during the typhoon as flying debris caused by strong winds can cause fatal casualties and loss.

Storm surge advisory maps can be viewed in the Project NOAH Beta website: http://beta.noah.dost.gov.ph

News source (s): Rappler, Project Noah