Tropical storm “Helen” (international name: Kai-tak) made landfall in Isabela before dawn Wednesday, a PAGASA forecaster said. PAGASA forecaster Gener Quitlong, in an interview over radio dzMM, said Helen made landfall in Palanan, Isabela at 1 a.m. Isabela officials had already carried out a preemptive evacuation in anticipation of the storm.
The province is also under threat of flooding as the Magat dam was already at 189.72 meters, which is only 0.28 meter short its spilling level of 190 meters. The dam was releasing 321 cubic meters per second of water as of 4 a.m., PAGASA said
Meanwhile, Quitlong said Helen is now crossing over Kalinga and Apayao, and is expected to exit the Philippine landmass in Ilocos Norte between 4 and 6 p.m. today.
The storm will then head towards southern China and exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday morning. As of 5 a.m., PAGASA said Helen was located 60 kilometers south southeast of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. The storm was still packing winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center with gustiness of up to 100 kph. It was moving west northwest at 17 kph.
Storm warning signal number 2 remains hoisted over the following areas:
Babuyan Group of Islands
Calayan Group of Islands
Batanes Group of Islands
Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac, La Union and the rest of Aurora remain under storm warning signal number 1.
Preschool to high school classes are automatically suspended in areas under signal number 2, while classes in preschool are automatically suspended in areas under signal number 1. “Residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signal #2 and #1 are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides,” PAGASA said.
“Likewise, those living in coastal areas under public storm warning #2 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this tropical storm,” it added.
PAGASA said moderate to heavy rains (7.5 -12 millimeters per hour) were being experienced over Mindoro, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite and Metro Manila; and intermittent light to moderate rains (2.5 – 7.5 mm/hr) over central Luzon and the rest of southern Luzon.
The rains over central and southern Luzon, and Visayas, especially the western section, were due to the enhanced southwest monsoon, Quitlong said.