Tropical Storm “Jelawat” (Kabayan) makes landfall in the Philippines, causing widespread evacuations

satellite image of tropical storm jelawat (kabayan) at 0120 UTC on december 18 2023

Tropical Storm “Jelawat” — known locally as Kabayan — made landfall in Davao Oriental on December 18, 2023, prompting evacuations and causing significant flooding and landslides across the Philippines. Jelawat formed on December 17 as the 17th named storm of the 2023 Pacific typhoon season.

Tropical Storm “Jelawat,” also known as Kabayan in the Philippines, made landfall on Monday, December 18, 2023, in Barangay Concepcion, Manay, Davao Oriental, at around 01:30 UTC (09:30 local time). The storm brought intense rain, winds, and flooding to the region.

In Surigao del Sur province, approximately 19 000 residents were evacuated from coastal villages and areas prone to flooding and landslides.

Governor Alexander Pimentel placed the entire province under red alert and directed local government units to implement forced evacuations, activate emergency centers, and ensure the availability of evacuation centers.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that around 57 718 individuals from 70 barangays were directly affected by the storm, with 19 362 individuals displaced and sheltering in 83 evacuation centers.

In Claver, Surigao del Norte, eight families were staying in evacuation centers. The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Caraga Region (DSWD-13) reported having emergency resources and funds available for affected areas. Meanwhile, Northern Mindanao took precautionary measures, including class suspensions and work stoppages, and mobilized rescue units and evacuation centers in preparation for the storm.

Mayor Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro City activated the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, with 80 Barangay DRRM units on standby. Gingoog City Mayor Erick Cañosa prepared rescue vehicles, evacuation centers, and food supplies. In Camiguin province, Governor Xavier Jesus Romualdo suspended classes and shipping operations, with preemptive evacuations in Sagay.

The Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Ports Authority reported several seaports suspended operations, except Mukas Port.

ts jelawat - kabayan- pagasa fcst 0900 utc december 18 2023

As of 06:30 UTC on December 18, Jelawat weakened into a remnant low, but heavy rain is still expected to affect parts of the Philippines. The center of the Low Pressure Area (ex-Jelawat) was located in the vicinity of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, at 09:00 UTC, moving NW at 25 km/h.

The remnant circulation of Jelawat is forecast to track northwestward or west-northwestward across the Philippine archipelago over the next two days. It is expected to cross Mindanao, emerge over the Sulu Sea by the evening of December 18, and potentially redevelop into a tropical depression. Jelawat is forecast to cross central or southern Palawan by December 19 and then move over the West Philippine Sea, possibly affecting the Kalayaan Islands by December 20.

Heavy rainfall is expected, with forecast accumulations of 100 – 200 mm (4 – 8 inches) in various regions, posing risks of flooding and landslides.

The Northeast Monsoon will bring gusty conditions across most of Luzon and Visayas.

A Gale Warning is in effect for coastal waters along the seaboard of Northern Luzon, the eastern and central seaboards of Visayas, and the eastern seaboards of Central, Southern Luzon, and Mindanao.

Mariners of small seacraft are advised to remain in port or seek safe harbor, with moderate to rough seas likely over other regions.

References:

1 ‘Kabayan’ displaces over 19K residents in Surigao Sur – PNA – December 18, 2023

2 Tropical Depression “Kabayan” – PAGASA – Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #13F – Issued at 09:00 UTC on December 18, 2023

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