Potential tropical cyclone looms on Christmas
MANILA, Philippines – The state weather bureau is keeping an eye on twin low pressure areas (LPAs) on Christmas Eve – one inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), and another still outside but set to enter and become a tropical depression.
In a bulletin issued 11 am on Monday, December 24, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the first LPA is now 325 kilometers west northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
This LPA will continue to bring moderate to heavy rain to the northern part of Palawan. Flash floods and landslides are still possible.
What's good is that the LPA off Palawan remains unlikely to develop into a tropical depression. It is expected to leave PAR on Christmas, Tuesday, December 25.
But on the heels of the first LPA comes yet another one, and this one could develop into a tropical depression – just as Filipinos are celebrating Christmas.
As of Monday morning, the second LPA is located 1,270 kilometers east of Mindanao, still outside PAR. Though it is still outside, its trough or extension will already begin to affect some areas down south.
In particular, PAGASA warned that the second LPA will trigger moderate to heavy rain in the regions of Caraga and Davao, as well as the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat.
Residents of those areas should watch out for possible flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
"Huwag po tayo maging kampante. Maging alerto sa sama ng panahon, at kung kinakailangan lumikas (Let's not be complacent. Be alert for the bad weather conditions, and if there's a need to evacuate)," said PAGASA Weather Specialist Ariel Rojas in a briefing past 11 am on Monday.
The second LPA is expected to enter PAR within the next 24 to 36 hours, then possibly develop into a tropical depression in 24 to 48 hours.
If it becomes a tropical depression, it would be given the local name Usman, the Philippines' 21st tropical cyclone for 2018. The country's average number of tropical cyclones per year is 20. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018)
PAGASA earlier said that one to two tropical cyclones could enter or develop within PAR in December.
At the moment, the potential tropical cyclone's track is not yet definite, but it could affect Caraga, Eastern Visayas, and Bicol. More detailed forecasts are expected in the coming days.
Aside from the two LPAs, there's also the tail-end of a cold front.
A cold front forms when an advancing cold air mass displaces warmer air in its path, causing the displaced warm air to rise, which then leads to the formation of clouds and precipitation.
Light to heavy rain will hit the region of Calabarzon, as well as the provinces of Isabela, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan.
Occasional light rainshowers are also expected in the rest of Northern Luzon and Central Luzon, and in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, due to the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan, a gale warning was issued at 5 am on Monday for Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, the northern coast of Cagayan, and the northern coast of Ilocos Norte.
Seas off those areas are rough to very rough, with wave heights reaching 2.8 meters to 5 meters.
PAGASA advised fishermen and others with small vessels not to set sail in areas covered by the gale warning. Larger vessels should watch out for big waves.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com