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Western Visayas on red alert as ‘Auring’ approaches | ENTIRE NEGROS COULD BE AFFECTED

PAGASA’s track of tropical storm “Auring” at 5 p.m. today, February 19.*

The Office of Civil Defense has placed the entire Western Visayas, which includes Negros Occidental, under red alert status starting today, February 19, as tropical storm “Auring” approaches.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson also ordered all emergency operation centers in Negros Occidental to go on red alert status starting 5 p.m. today, and prepare for possible flooding, flashfloods, and landslides.

He also placed all provincial government hospitals under Code White to ensure their preparedness

Lacson called on Negrenses to stay home unless asked to evacuate this weekend.

“Together we pray that the track of the storm will veer away from our province,” Lacson told DIGICAST NEGROS.

Although the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) track indicates that the storm will hit northern Negros, there are forecast models that indicate that it could hit the middle of the province, Zeaphard Caelian, Provincial Disaster Management Program Division head, said.

This means the entire province could be affected by the storm, that is why Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices (DRRMO) provincewide are now on red alert status, he said.

PAGASA said “Auring” this morning had intensified into a severe tropical storm but at 2 p.m. weakened into a tropical storm.

However, possible re-intensification into a severe tropical storm is likely prior to landfall, it said.

But it is not likely to develop into a typhoon, PAGASA added.

“Auring” will likely weaken while crossing the archipelago due to significant terrain interaction and dry air intrusion from the Northeast Monsoon, it said.

At 4 p.m. today, the center of tropical storm “Auring” was estimated to be 405 kilometers East Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, and moving westward at 15 km/h.

“We are expecting Auring to traverse through Negros Occidental Sunday morning to Monday,” Caelian said.

The provincial government will place all Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) entering Negros Occidental this weekend at the Silay Healing Center to enable DRRMO personnel in the towns and cities of the province to focus on storm rescue operations, Caelian said.

Less than 100 LSIs are expected to arrive during the weekend, he said.

LSIs are quarantined and tested for COVID-19 and only allowed to return to their homes if they test negative.

Lacson said local government units should not pick up their LSIs Saturday, Sunday and Monday as the provincial government will take care of them until the storm passes.

In Negros Oriental, its Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has issued a warning of possible flooding and landslides as Auring approaches.

PAGASA today warned that scattered to widespread flooding, including flash floods, and rain-induced landslides are likely during heavy or prolonged rainfall.*

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