MANILA---Public storm signal warnings were hoisted on Sunday over portions of Northern Luzon as tropical storm "Gener" (international code name: Saola) slightly intensified as it continued its slow approach to the country's northernmost tip.
The state weather bureau Pagasa warned that any form of sea travel in the affected areas would be risky as it raised signal number two over the Cagayan Province, including the Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands.
In Maguindanao province, about 14 barangays in at least three towns were partly submerged in floodwaters brought by the rains from tropical storm Gener.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said rivers surrounding the Liguasan Marsh swelled.
The flooded towns included Kabuntalan, Northern Kabuntalan and Rajah Buayan, said OCD regional chief Loreto Rirao.
Pagasa warned the public of sustained winds of 60 to 100 kilometers per hour until Monday.
The agency reminded residents living in coastal areas under storm signal number two to be on alert for big waves and storm surges.
Storm signal number one was hoisted over the provinces of Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao and the Batanes Group of Islands, where winds of 30 to 60 kph is expected until Tuesday.
The weather bureau advised against traveling on small sea craft and fishing boats. Cagayan Province, including the Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands, will experience stormy weather.
Provinces with storm signal number one in effect will have rains with gusty winds and coastal waters are anticipated to be rough.
The rest of Luzon and the Visayas will experience cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers.
Mindanao will be cloudy and may have isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms.
Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest will prevail over southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.
Winds from the northeast to northwest will prevail over the rest of Luzon. Coastal waters in the areas will be moderate to rough.
Based on the Pagasa weather bulletin, the eye of tropical storm Gener was estimated at 310 kilometers east-northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.
By today, Gener is anticipated to be at 260 kilometers east-northeast of Aparri, Cagayan, as it continues to move north-northwest at 15 kph.
On Tuesday, Pagasa said the tropical storm could be 160 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes.
Gener is expected to head out of the country by Wednesday, when it is expected to be 350 kilometers north of Basco, Batanes, or 40 kilometers east of Taiwan.
The tropical storm is likewise expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over Southern Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, particularly its western section.
Rirao said while there are no reports of mass evacuation their office is constantly monitoring the situation.
Initial reports from the Department of Agriculture state that 40 percent of Buayan's corn and rice crops were damaged.
Rajah Buayan Mayor Jacob Ampatuan said a portion of the Liguasan Marsh within his municipality "that used to be visible" has been submerged in flood "three to five feet deep."
"A number of residents, I was told, have started to move to higher ground," said Ampatuan, hoping the weather would improve soon enough to spare other low-lying towns of Pagalungan, Montawal, Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Piang and Mamasapano. Inquirer