Mirinae strengthens to typhoon
Typhoon threatens to hit land on Nov. 1 (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the storm—internationally designated as “Mirinae”—had developed into a typhoon with peak winds of 140 kilometers per hour gusting up to 170 kph.
At 10 p.m. Wednesday, PAGASA located Mirinae in the Pacific 1,210 km east of Central Luzon, moving west at 24 kph.
Forecaster Robert Sawi said that Mirinae—locally named “Santi” as it entered the Philippine area of responsibility late Wednesday—was likely to hit northern or central Luzon on Saturday.
“There will be lots of rain when the storm comes,” Sawi said.
He said that based on the erratic nature of previous storms, Mirinae could slow down. It is unlikely to change course, he said, because of a high-pressure area north of the country.
“That ridge is serving like an umbrella blocking a northward course,” he said.
The timing of Mirinae's landfall has officials very concerned. November 1 is the Roman Catholic feast of All Saint's Day. It is tradition in the Philippines for people to visit the gravesites of their lost relatives on this day. The government is asking people to go early to the cemetary - maybe Thursday or Friday - to avoid being trapped by heavy flooding.
Manila - The Philippine government on Wednesday advised Filipinos against flocking to cemeteries to honour their dead on the weekend when a new typhoon could hit the country. Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said Typhoon Mirinae was forecast to hit Friday night or Saturday when Filipinos were expected to start trooping to the provinces ahead of All Saint's Day.
All Saint's Day on November 1 is the traditional day for Filipinos to visit the graves of their dead. Tens of thousands even stay overnight in the cemeteries.
"Let us avoid visiting our relatives at the cemeteries and if they really need to make a visit, we can do it earlier, before Sunday," Teodoro said. He said the government was making the early warning to ensure that the public was prepared.
"We see difficulties if our countrymen are not aware of the coming typhoon and they are planning to visit their relatives at the cemeteries," he said.
"They may be trapped there and this may cause traffic congestion in the streets ... and may delay the response and relief efforts that may be needed to be done," he added.