MANILA, Philippines -- Tropical Storm Aere blew away from the northern Philippines on Tuesday, leaving at least 22 people dead but largely sparing vast agricultural regions where farmers welcomed the rain, officials said.
Disaster officials had feared the storm would barrel through provinces during planting season and set off flash floods and landslides. After slamming Catanduanes province Sunday, it began to weaken and just grazed the country's northeastern seaboard, bringing rain to farmland scorched by the summer heat.
"It's a welcome relief for the farmers," regional disaster response official Norma Talosig said by telephone from northern Cagayan province, where planting for rice, corn and peanuts has begun.
Still, disaster officials warned villagers to stay away from mountainous areas prone to landslides and from low-lying areas that could be swamped by flash floods, especially in the northernmost province of Batanes. Fishermen and ferry operators at the tip of northern Luzon island were advised to keep their boats ashore.
The weather bureau said Aere was about 118 miles northeast of Batanes late Tuesday as it pushed toward southern Japan with sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
Officials in Taiwan have cautioned residents in the eastern and southern parts of the island of possible torrential rain.
Aere caused at least 22 deaths in the Philippines, officials said. A 66-year-old man remained missing in eastern Albay province.
Office of the Civil Defense officer Ronaldo Flores said damage to rice, corn and other crops and livestock was estimated at $2.8 million in the eastern Bicol region alone.
Nearly 210,000 people were affected by the storm, with 6,400 housed in evacuation centers.
More than 50 flights were canceled or diverted. President Benigno Aquino III delayed his flight home from a regional summit in Indonesia by a day, to Monday, due to the bad weather.
Aere was the second tropical storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storms lash the country annually.