A tropical depression south of China has been blunting the effects of typhoon "Butchoy" over the western seaboard of Luzon, weather forecasters said on Sunday
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said a tropical cyclone that formed in southern China was having some unexpected effects: It was sucking some of the moisture in the air and this was why the southwest monsoon had not been as strong as feared.
Even so, disaster management officials were not taking any chances.
Relief and emergency evacuation plans were put in place in towns in northern Luzon as Butchoy passed 550 kilometers east of Aparri Sunday afternoon.
In Cebu City, the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CCDRRMC) said it is kept busy dredging the city's riverside creeks days ahead of the rainy season.
CCDRRMC operations chief Alvin Santillana said they are also warning riverside occupants to move to higher ground ahead to avoid flooding.
Pagasa saw very little chance Butchoy would make landfall in the Philippines.
However, it had increased wind velocity to 185 kph near the center and gustiness up to 220 kph and had a diameter of 500 km.
Early on Monday, Butchoy is expected to be 500 km east northeast of Basco, Batanes. Moving at 22 kph, it will be out of the Philippine areas of responsibility by Tuesday morning.
The storm in southern China was moving closer to the Philippines but was unlikely to enter the country, Pagasa said.
Fair weather in the Visayas and Mindanao were starting to be felt as Butchoy moves out of the country.
Nonetheless, Pagasa warned ships against venturing out to the sea.
"Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out to the seaboards of Luzon and the Visayas due to the big waves generated by the combined effects of Butchoy and the southwest monsoon," it said.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Benito Ramos said "storm surges" could still happen even with Butchoy on the way out.
"The waves are still big out there," Ramos said over the phone Sunday afternoon. He said coastal residents should take precautions.
Yesterday, two crew members of a small cargo boat were rescued after their vessel nearly sank off Boracay, a Coast Guard official said.
The outrigger motorboat "Cathlyn" took in water due to huge waves and strong winds shortly after it left Boracay for Caticlan before noon.
Lt. Cmdr. Terence Alsosa, commander of the Coast Guard station in Caticlan, Aklan, said no one was injured and the boat was towed back to shore. Inquirer