Northern Luzon braces for possible flooding and landslides

The combined effects of Tropical Storm “Sarah” and Low Pressure Area “Ramon” may bring intermittent heavy rains in Northern Luzon. Vigilant monitoring for possible flooding and rain-induced landslides in identified affected areas was strongly advised by the National Disaster Disk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) during its Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) meeting held this afternoon.

According to PAGASA, “Sarah” has intensified into a tropical storm as it moves north-northwestward. At present, Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) # 1 is raised over Batanes, the northeastern portion of Cagayan (i.e. Lal-lo, Buguey, Gonzaga, Sta. Ana, and Calayan), and Babuyan Islands due to TS “Sarah”. Meanwhile, although “Ramon” has weakened into a Low Pressure Area (LPA), strong to gale force winds will still prevail over Batanes and Babuyan Islands while occasional gusty conditions may be experienced over the rest of Northern Luzon due to the surge of Northeast Monsoon.

For the rest of the day (November 20), intermittent heavy rains may prevail over Ilocos Sur, Abra, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Isabela, La Union, Benguet, and the rest of Ilocos Norte due to combined effects of “Ramon” and “Sarah”.  Meanwhile, Batanes, Cagayan including Babuyan Islands and Apayao, and the northern portion of Ilocos Norte may experience occasional heavy rains. 

For tomorrow, November 21, TS “Sarah” may bring intermittent heavy rains over Batanes and Cagayan including Babuyan Islands.

NDRRMC would like to warn the public on the effects of heavy rainfall that may be brought by these weather events which may include flooding and landslides. Thus, the Local Government Units (LGUs), the barangays and residents in the identified affected areas are advised to be vigilant in monitoring sites that are susceptible to flooding and rain-induced landslides.

LGUs and residents in the identified areas should be alert in monitoring tension cracks, fractured rocks and sediments, sliding slope and active slides, and soil overburden which are common signs of impending landslides. Likewise, residents in low-lying areas or near riverbanks which have experienced recent prolonged rainfall or flooding should exercise caution and monitor the level of river water considering that heavy rainfall may cause riverbank erosion, shift of river flow direction, debris flows and artificial damming.

LGUs and residents in the identified areas should also be prepared for possible pre-emptive evacuation and take necessary precautionary measures.

Meanwhile, sea travel is also discouraged, especially for small sea crafts over the seaboards of areas under TCWS, as well as the seaboards of Northern and Central Luzon and the western seaboard of Southern Luzon due to prevailing/forecast rough sea conditions caused by TS “Sarah” and the Northeast Monsoon.

As part of preparedness measures, DSWD has prepositioned 306,006 family food packs across 17 field offices in or nearby affected areas. Non-food relief items amounting to Php 664 million are also stored in field offices. The DSWD representative added that 10,000 sleeping kits are already prepositioned in Region 2 and 15,000 family food packs are scheduled for delivery tonight. Also as part of contingency planning, the NDRRMC has ensured that additional stocks are on standby and ready for dispatch when needed. DILG and DSWD are likewise on alert for possible evacuations especially in affected areas.

OCD Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad relayed his guidance through his representative in the PDRA meeting that Quick Response Teams from the uniformed services, DOH, DSWD, and DILG must be on standby and ready for immediate mobilization should the need arise.

The NDRRMC is on BLUE alert status to monitor the effects and response actions for LPA “Ramon” and TS “Sarah”.