Typhoon Parma spares Philippines capital

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Typhoon Parma was threatening to strike the Philippines capital of Manila, devastated from Typhoon Ketsana just one week earlier, but has taken a more northerly path, largely sparing the city.

"It’s a big help, we weren’t ready for another catastrophe," said Marides Fernando, mayor of the Marikina municipality. "Prayers worked; everyone was praying. We can go back to our homes."

Forecasters say the storm changed course before striking the Cagayan province in the northern part of the country. Most of the region is expected to avoid major disaster.

However, Parma, still packing sustained 10-minute winds of 110 miles per hour, has knocked down trees and powerlines, and is forecast to drop heavy precipitation. The most significant impacts may come in the form of mudslides.

Tuguegarao Mayor Randolph Ting said, "Many houses have been destroyed and trees and electricity poles uprooted. The province hasn’t been hit this hard in 10 years. It will probably take 10 to 15 days for power to be restored".

In advance of the storm, President Gloria Arroyo issued a "state of calamity" and tens of thousands residents were advised to leave their homes.

Trevor Taylor, a resort owner in Santa Ana, Cagayan, reported that "The town is locking down; you don’t want to be on the road at this time. We have moved everything that is loose, boarded every window and put extra material on the roof so it doesn’t get blown off. A lot of people here have homes made of flimsy material, and these are likely to suffer a lot of damage."

All interests in the areas potentially in the path of Typhoon Parma are urged to monitor its progress over the next few days.