Being the typhoon target that our country is, Philippine government agencies, particularly the national weather forecaster PAGASA, tend to have a routine down the moment the annual typhoon season begins. One of these constants is that the first weather disturbance to form and make its way into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) will be given quite the spotlight no matter how intense it may be or otherwise. This is the treatment being given to Tropical Depression Auring, the first of the season for 2021. Tracked as travelling southwesterly last week, it has made landfall in the Visayas, but not before flooding parts of Mindanao.
CNN Philippines reports that Tropical Depression Auring (international name “Dujuan”) made landfall this Monday, February 22, at Northern Samar province over Batag Island. This was reported as happening 9:30 AM by Loriedin de la Cruz, weather forecaster for the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). From here, Auring has been tracked to be heading north by northwestward at 15 km/h towards Albay and Sorsogon provinces in the Bicol region, with its location after 11 AM being 30 km northeast of Catarman, Northern Samar. Its maximum sustained winds are measured at 45 km/h, with a gustiness of 55 km/h.
Before its landfall today however, the close proximity of TD Auring at Surigao Del Sur in Mindanao’s Caraga region has resulted in some heavy rains and expected flooding yesterday, February 21. The capital, Tandag City, saw several neighborhoods getting flooded, trapping residents and necessitating the local government to request assistance from the Philippine Coast Guard in order to help evacuate the stranded. The Caraga regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recorded about 3,858 households throughout Region XIII have been affected by Auring. They have already donated P179,000 worth of material assistance throughout the Caraga LGUs since this Saturday, February 20.
At present, the following areas in the country are under Storm Signal No. 1 on account of Auring. In the Visayas, the provinces of Biliran, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar are affected. In Luzon, the aforementioned Sorsogon and Albay are joined in Signal No. 1 by fellow Bicol provinces of Catanduanes, Masbate (including Ticao and Burias Islands), and eastern Camarines Sur. PAGASA however notes that Auring has been weakening from its landfall, with the possibility that in the next 24 hours it could further degrade into a low-pressure area.
Image courtesy of Rappler