Falcon' exits Philippines

June 26, 2011

MANILA, Philippines -  Tropical storm "Falcon" made a wet exit early yesterday, leaving the country drenching from the continuous rains and floods that had forced nearly 90,000 people out from their homes.

The storm also left two people dead and at least 15 missing after drenching the country with three days of heavy rains.

Even though Falcon (international codename: Meari) was about 600 kilometers north of Manila and moving further away toward South Korea yesterday, it continued to add to seasonal monsoon rains, the Pthilippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. 

PAGASA weather forecaster Jun Galang said the weather would improve in the coming days but Metro Manila and other areas of the country would still experience occasional rains owing to the seasonal monsoon.

"So there would be instances when it would rain in the morning and then there would be a break from the rains in the afternoon," Galang said.

Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes following the three days of incessant rains that also left commuters stranded in Metro Manila since Thursday.

In Marikina City, some 25,000 people were moved to evacuation centers after floodwaters reached dangerous levels.

Authorities said it would be too early to send them home.

"They will only be allowed to return home once the water level (at the Marikina River) drops to 15 meters," said Marikina police chief Senior Superintendent Gabriel Lopez.

A total of 133,533 people were also evacuated in the province of Bulacan.

One of 15 fishermen from Catanduanes who were listed as missing at sea on Thursday had been rescued in Northern Samar but the rest had still not been found. There were also reports of three missing fishermen in Camarines Norte.

The Coast Guard said they had to call off the search and rescue mission for the missing fishermen because of the rough sea conditions.

In addition, a man and a woman were washed away by raging waters off Manila while two children could not be accounted for amid floods and landslides outside the capital.

The body of Ronald Dula of Islang Putting Bato, Tondo was retrieved near the breakwater at Pier 2.

Police also retrieved the body of an unidentified female found floating near the Manila Yacht Club along Roxas Boulevard.

The storm also triggered a tornado in Quezon City and Meycauayan, Bulacan, destroying several houses.

A 14-year-old girl was injured in the twister that destroyed five houses in a village in Quezon City on Friday. Among the houses that were destroyed included that of business tycoon Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco.

Numerous schools closed and at least 26 flights had been cancelled since Friday due to the bad weather, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), on the other hand, said the damage on infrastructure left by Falcon could go beyond P200 million.

Falcon had strengthened and was packing maximum gusts of 135 kilometers per hour and was forecast to continue moving north at 24 kph, PAGASA said.

In its 5 p.m. weather forecast, PAGASA said the prevailing southwest monsoon would affect Northern and Central Luzon, including Metro Manila, which would experience monsoon rains.

The Southern Tagalog region, on the other hand, would have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

The rest of the country would be partly cloudy to at times cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms, PAGASA said.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the southwest would prevail over Luzon and coming from the southeast to southwest over the rest of the country.

Coastal waters throughout the archipelago would be moderate to rough. - Evelyn Macairan, Jaime Laude, Jose Rodel Clapano, Mike Frialde, Nestor Etolle, Raffy Viray, Reinir Padua, Eva Visperas, Dino Balabo, Celso Amo, Ric Sapnu

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