MANILA (UPDATE) – Weather system Kammuri strengthened into a typhoon on Thursday morning as it threatened to bring heavy rains over large swaths of the country, including venues of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the state weather bureau said.
The typhoon was 1,430 kilometers east of Visayas at 10 a.m., packing 150 kilometer per hour gusts and maximum sustained winds of 120 kph, up from 110 kph, said PAGASA.
The typhoon will be called Tisoy when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility on Saturday, which marks the opening of the SEA Games, or on Sunday, said PAGASA weather specialist Raymond Ordinario.
The country’s 20th storm this year will bring “frequent to continuous heavy rains” across Bicol Region, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Samar Island from Tuesday to Wednesday, said the weather bureau.
Several SEA Games venues are located in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon.
“Dadaanan ng bagyo itong mga areas kung saan gaganapin iyong mga palaro para sa 30th SEA Games,” said Ordinario.
(The storm will pass through areas where the events for the SEA Games will be held.)
The storm, he added, is expected to make landfall in Bicol Region or Aurora province on Tuesday.
FLOODS, LANDSLIDES, GIANT WAVES LOOM
Kammuri is strong enough to uproot trees, destroy houses made of light materials, and burst the Pampanga River, said PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Operations Landrico Dalida.
The storm can also knock down power lines and spawn landslides and floods in areas on its path, warned PAGASA Weather Services Chief Esperanza Cayanan.
Storm surges may also hit coastal towns, added PAGASA senior weather forecaster Rene Paciente.
PAGASA deployed several teams to give “real-time” updates to organizers of the SEA Games, said Dalida.
The country’s hosting of the regional event was earlier criticized for troubles in the transport and lodging of athletes, inadequate meals, unfinished game venues, and the accreditation of foreign press, among others.
The decision to suspend the games due to bad weather will be up to the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), the private entity that led preparations for the nearly 2-week competition, said Cayanan.
Angat Dam, the main water source of Metro Manila, may rise by 9 meters with the rains that Kammuri is expected to dump, said Richard Orendain.
Authorities earlier reduced the water supply for the metropolis due to the dam’s level, which was at 188.10 meters on Thursday morning, below the normal high operating level of 212 meters.
Next week’s weather is expected to improve by Dec. 5, said Ordinario.