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Gorio exits Ph after landing 7 times

Metro Manila spared

MANILA, Philippines - Tropical Storm Gorio (international name Rumbia) changed track and spared Metro Manila but stranded thousands of commuters, toppled trees and knocked out power in outlying provinces as it moved away from the country yesterday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had predicted that Gorio would hit the metropolis, sparking emergency preparations. Instead it veered slightly and struck Batangas province, then blew toward the West Philippine Sea.

However, strong winds and heavy rains were still experienced in Metro Manila and other areas in Luzon.

The storm made landfall at least seven times, the weather bureau said.

Storm warning signal No.1 remained hoisted over Pangasinan and Zambales as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

Gorio was spotted at 230 kilometers west of Dagupan City with maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph.

 It was forecast to move northwest at 26 kph.

PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said the storm was initially projected to affect the northern section of Metro Manila but affected the south instead.

 “If it moved toward the northern part of Metro Manila, it could have dumped Ondoy-like rain that could cause severe flooding,” Malano said in an interview.

 Tropical Storm Ondoy brought unusual amount of rain that caused widespread flooding in Metro Manila and nearby areas in September 2009.

No need for evacuation

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman yesterday said there was no need to evacuate Metro Manila residents as Gorio did not directly hit the metropolis.

 “In the National Capital Region, no evacuation center was opened because it was not necessary. It was Bicol that was affected,” Soliman said.

The government’s disaster-response agency said 1,600 villagers fled their homes in Albay amid heavy rains, while more than 10,000 commuters were stranded as ferry and cargo boats suspended trips.

At least 10 villages in Albay, Barangay Matnog in Sorsogon, and Barangay Pasacao in Camarines Sur were hit hard by the storm.

Soliman said her department has prepared relief goods for the affected families in Bicol region.

Several provinces reported power outages and minor landslides.

Water elevation at major dams in Bulacan remained normal yesterday, except for the Bustos Dam in Norzagaray town, which overflowed following heavy rains spawned by Gorio.

 Record showed that water elevation at Bustos Dam rose to 17.41 meters, breaching its spilling level of 15.35 meters.

Zero casualties

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said there were no casualties reported from the storm as of late yesterday afternoon.

NDRRMC executive director Eduardo del Rosario said this was due to preparations of state agencies and local governments.

 “In terms of casualties, we attained the zero casualty that we aspired for,” Del Rosario said.

“This can be attributed to the preparations undertaken on the ground by the local government units and the members of the national council of the NDRRMC, particularly PAGASA, which delivered accurate forecasting,” he added.

 Del Rosario said the impact of Gorio was also minimal.

 He said a total of 2,309 families or 11,691 individuals in Bicol were affected by the storm.

The NDRRMC said close to 1,500 people are temporarily taking shelter in nine evacuation centers.

The storm triggered a landslide in Masbate, a flooding incident in Occidental Mindoro, a tornado in Quezon province and the uprooting of a tree in Antipolo City.

Improved weather

Weather forecaster Gener Quitlong said residents of Luzon can expect improved weather condition in the next few days as Gorio moved away from the country.

However, the southwest monsoon may bring light rains over the metropolis and other parts of Luzon, he said.

 PAGASA said no new weather disturbance was spotted inside the country as of yesterday.

 However, weather forecaster Aldzar Aurelio warned fishermen against venturing to sea in the western section of Luzon due to big waves generated by the storm.

 Gorio is the seventh storm to hit the country this year. An average of 21 typhoons strike the country in a year.  (From