Tropical Storm Linfa Strikes Northern Philippines
Photo via Twitter
Floods, power outages, and landslides plagued the northern Philippines as Tropical Storm Linfa slowly blew across the Pacific archipelago on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
The storm, known locally as Egay, brings sustained winds of 53 mph with gusts of 62 mph, and is expected to move on by Monday, the AP said, via government weather forecasters.
Officials said there were no reports of dead or injured on the ground yet, but there were “minor” landslides set off by the storm in “at least two” mountainous provinces.
Melchito Castro, a regional disaster-response agency chief, told the AP the area affected the most was La Union province, a place that draws tourists for its religious sites and beaches.
"There's massive flooding here in La Union," Castro said, adding that 11 towns in the coastal province were inundated with floodwaters and villagers were stranded in their homes. The floods came from both rivers overflowing from rain, plus water cascading down a mountain range and onto the villages.
The storm may have a fatal private helicopter crash in a mountainous area of the Batangas province south of Manila, killing at least two and injuring six. It is not clear if the crash was caused by the weather, and an investigation has begun.
"There was zero visibility when the crash happened," police Senior Inspector Joel Laraya told the AP by phone.
GMA News announced roads have been closed to traffic in the mountainous provinces of Benguet and Apayao due to, “landslide, fallen rocks and mudflow.”
GMA also reported that hiking and trekking up Mt. Pulag — on the borders of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya provinces — has been suspended, and said the mountain’s Superintendent Emerita Albas has put park rangers in place to prevent anyone from ignoring the mountain closure.
There has also been a raft of airline delays and cancellations. The Manila International Airport Authority made Twitter announcements that linked to a Facebook post detailing all the canceled flights, most of them domestic.
Philippine Airlines canceled Monday flights between Manila and Basco, a city in the Batanes province, according to GMA News. Travelers have been directed to call PAL at 885-8888 for a replacement flight.
According to the AP, Linfa is the fifth storm to hit the Philippines this year and the first after an exceedingly dry summer that parched farmlands and dams that supply tap water and irrigation. About 20 storms and typhoons batter the country every year.
Flight advisory as of 1700H NAIA Terminal 2: Additional cancelled flights due to typhoon "Egay" 2P 2198... http://t.co/5BHSCgu1V3— NAIA (@naia_miaa) July 5, 2015
PAL Advisory update http://t.co/ReY9gWxvU6— NAIA (@naia_miaa) July 5, 2015
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