Storm Pablo causes minimal damage; fallen tree kills woman

Posted on December 5, 2012


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Typhoon Pablo brought strong winds yesterday but never made landfall in Cebu or cause torrential rain or floods feared by residents.

A woman walking in her farm in the southern town of Boljoon, 103 kilometers from Cebu city, was killed when a coconut tree fell on her past 2 p.m. Arlene Pila was the only casualty.

A storm surge also washed out 17 coastal houses in Boljoon.

Signal no. 3 remains hoisted in the southern part of Cebu, which took the brunt of the storm as it heads westward to Palawan. Signal no. 2 covers the rest of the province.

As of 9 p.m. the storm was 130 kilometers southwest of Iloilo.

“On Thursday to Saturday we will have sunny weather,” said Oscar Tabada, Paga-asa Mactan station chief in a briefing at the Provincial Capitol.

Despite warnings of “Ondoy-type winds” and “Ruping-like gusts”, it felt like typical monsoon weather in Cebu City yesterday with only 65 kilometer per hour winds and no reports of landslides or floods.

It was business as usual in most establishments although some malls like Ayala Center closed earlier at 4 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

At the storm’s peak at 7 p.m., the winds in Santander town, the island’s southernmost tip, was 100 kph, far from the maximum gusts of 195 kph experienced in Mindanao. (See story on page 3)

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said Cebu was fortunately spared from the typhoon, the strongest one in the country this year.

“Pinangga gyud ta dinhi sa Cebu (We are blessed here in Cebu),” she said at the Capitol where she gathered the provincial disaster council for updates and was told in the afternoon that the storm had changed course.

”Let us all thank the Sto. Niño, Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Pedro Calungsod even as we continue to pray for protection,” she said.

Earlier at 8 a.m. she ordered classes suspended in all levels in Cebu province after initial confusion arose when some towns called off classes while others did not.

Cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay made the decision to suspend classes a day earlier on Monday based on Pag-asa’s forecast of a powerful storm coming.

The eye of the typhoon was supposed to move westward from Surigao del Sur and would have hit more areas in Cebu, but Pagasa chief Tabada said the storm traveled down to Davao Oriental before moving up and going westward.

The typhoon passed through Cebu between 6 pm. and 8 p.m.

At least 17 houses in the coast of Boljoon town in southeast Cebu were washed away by big waves.

“Waves just rushed to our house and destroyed everything inside. We evacuated and brought nothing but a handful of clothes,” said Nilda Romero, school principal and resident of sitio Talisay, barangay Poblacion.

She said the sea level suddenly rose, bringing rocks and debris to the highway and leaving the road impassable to buses and other vehicles.

The storm surge destroyed the seawall, and also damaged offices of the Boljoon municipal hall, said municipal planning officer Engineer Corazon Medida.

About 300 to 400 people were evacuated to the church, a private school and a covered court.

In Santander town, the southern tip of Cebu, a motor banca with four men aboard sank while it attempted to cross the rough sea to Negros Oriental about 9 a.m.

The victims were quickly rescued and brought back to the town for a medical checkup. They were identified as Henry Alanano, 36, Florante Ojayos, 57, who are residents of Negros Oriental and a foreign national. The boat was steered by Santander resident Froilan Erag.



Without waiting for the weather to turn bad, mayors of Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City conducted preemptive evacuations of coastal families with the help of police patrol cars.

As of 4 p.m., 91 families from sitio Seaside and 20 families from sitio Camansi in barangay Pajo were moved to school buildings, along with another 3,000 individuals in barangay Ibo, 21 families in Pusok and 16 from Buaya and eight in Punta Engano.

As early as 6 a.m., Ibo barangay captain Ferdinand Cahilum said residents were told to vacate their houses. Some heeded the warning but at 10 a.m. most of them returned to their dwellings. By mid afternoon, Cahilum said he had to prod them to go back to the evacuation centers.

In Lapu-Lapu City, a a 50-year-old man fixing his roof to keep the iron sheets from flying off in the wind lost his balance and fell. Ernie Dacumos of barangay Pusok broke his arm and suffered body bruises.

In Talisay City, where all mountain barangays are landslide prone, Vice Mayor Alan Bucao said barangay halls and City Hall were standing by as evacuation sites.

He said traffic enforcers were roving the coastal and mountain areas to monitor conditions.

Pagasa’s forecast of the storm affecting southern Cebu starts in the southern city of Talisay downward.

Voluntary evacuations also took place farther south in three coastal barangays of Dalaguete town.

Brief power outages hit pockets of Cebu City and towns of Boljoon and Dalaguete.

In Cebu City, brownouts affected areas in Lahug, Capitol, Calamba Pier area, downtown from Ermita to Pardo at about 1 p.m. due to strong winds but power was restored later in the afternoon, according to the Visayan Electric Company.

A four-hour brownout hit Poblacion and Central Biason in Talisay City after a fuse box blew up

There were also reports of power outage in barangay Basak, Mandaue City.

In Boljoon town, southern Cebu, power went out at 4 p.m. until last night due to strong winds.

The whole province of Siquijor had no power as of 4 p.m.

There was no electric power s well in eight towns of Bohol province. Engr. Ver Neil Balaba, regional operations officer of the Office of Civil Defense 7 identified the towns as dagohoy, Ubay, Sevilla., Panglao, Dimiao, Lila, Garcia Hernandez and Mabini.

Dumaguete City and the first district of Negros Oriental had no power too as of Tuesday afternoon.

Work was suspended in city halls of Cebu, Mandaue , Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City and some southern towns but a skeleton force was assigned to respond to emergencies.

Several billboard tarpaulins were taken down as a safety measure in Cebu City.

No vessels were allowed to sail from the Cebu port yesterday by Cebu Coast Guard station commander Rolando Punzalan.

A total of 63vessels were grounded. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Jhunnez Napallacan, Joy Cherry Quito,with reports of Fe Marie Dumaboc, Tweeny Malinao, Norman Mendoza, Gabriel Bonjoc, Carine Asutilla, Aileen Garcia Yap, Marian Codilla

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