Tropical Storm Disrupts Manila, but No Casualties Reported
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Tropical storm Cary battered the nation’s main island with high winds and heavy rain Tuesday, then swept into the South China Sea. No casualty reports were available because of disrupted communicatons.
Officials said the death toll rose to 74 on Tuesday from Typhoon Betty, a much worse storm that struck Luzon and nearby islands last week. Seventeen people still are listed as missing, 425 were injured and up to 700,000 have been left homeless.
Weather service officials said Cary came ashore as a typhoon at 5 a.m. near Casiguran, about 135 miles northeast of Manila, with maximum winds of 87 mph. It was demoted to tropical storm as it crossed the rugged mountains of Luzon, the main island, and the rice and sugar country north of Manila.
At 10 p.m., Cary was reported 30 miles west of the Luzon coast over the South China Sea with top winds of 68 mph. A tropical storm does not become a typhoon until its winds reach 74 mph.
No detailed damage reports were available but the U.S.-run Far Eastern Network, which broadcasts to American military personnel, said roads were flooded north of Clark Air Base, 50 miles north of Manila, and around the U.S. Navy’s San Miguel communications station 70 miles west of the capital.
Heavy rains flooded many streets in Manila and 37 mph winds buffeted the city in the afternoon. Philippine Airlines, the national carrier, canceled flights between Manila and three northern cities.
The highway department said it closed a major bridge in Ilocos Sur province because the approaches were washed away. Schools were closed in several northern provinces and authorities shut off water and electricity in Dagupan City, just north of the storm center.
Cary struck as the country was cleaning up from Typhoon Betty, which swept across southern Luzon and nearby islands last Wednesday and Thursday with winds of up to 136 mph.
Betty was the archipelago’s worst storm in three years. The Red Cross and government Office of Civil Defense said the death toll rose to 74 after reports of more deaths in Samar province southeast of Manila.
Crispina Abat, director of the civil defense office, said preliminary property damage estimates totaled 656 million pesos ($32.8 million) in 14 provinces. More than 57,000 homes were reported destroyed in Sorsogon province, where Betty came ashore.
An average of 19 typhoons or tropical storms hit the Philippines every year.