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‘Lawin’ maintains strength on way to Central, Southern Luzon

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1,900 stranded in Bicol

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 08:21:00 08/26/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 4) Tropical depression “Lawin” maintained its strength on its way to Central and Southern Luzon on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said late Tuesday afternoon.

At 4 p.m., the storm was located 80 kilometers northeast of Virac, Catanduanes, packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center, PAGASA said on its website.

The weather bureau also expanded the scope of public storm signal number 1 (30-60 kilometer per hour winds) to 13 areas, including Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Burias Island, Sorsogon, Ticao Island, Quezon, Polilio Island, Marinduque, Laguna, Rizal, and Aurora

The raising of the storm signal led to the stranding of some 1,900 passengers and 20 vessels in various ports in the Bicol region after sea vessels were barred from leaving port, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported on Tuesday.

PCG spokesman Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo said the grounding of ferries and other boats is in accordance with orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that no sea vessels shall be allowed to sail once a public storm signal has been hoisted over their points of origin.

The order was issued after the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars, which capsized off the coast of Romblon in June 21 after being battered by typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) with more than 800 passengers and crew.

As of 12 noon Tuesday, the PCG Bicol reported some 1,417 passengers are stranded in Matnog, Sorsogon; 389 in Tabaco, Albay, where three vessels were grounded; 43 in Virac, Catanduanes; 25 in Pilar, Sorsogon, where seven vessels were ordered to remain in port; 15 in Bulan, Sorsogon; and 11 at the Victory port in Legazpi City, Albay, where six vessels were not allowed to sail.

While no passengers are stranded in Bapor, Sorsogon, authorities have grounded two vessels there.

Moving west northwest at 17 kilometers per hour, the storm was forecast to be over Baler town in Aurora province by Wednesday afternoon, 260 kilometers west northwest of Baguio City by Thursday afternoon, and 600 kilometers northwest of Baguio City by Friday afternoon, PAGASA said.

“Tropical Depression ‘Lawin’ is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over Southern Luzon, Visayas and Western Mindanao which may trigger flash floods and landslides,” it said.

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Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2008-08-26T10:25:00+00:00UTC08bUTCTue, 26 Aug 2008 10:25:00 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am08

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