Tropical Depression Usman enters PAR on Christmas
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The low pressure area being monitored intensified into a tropical depression and entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) at 3 pm on Tuesday, December 25, just as Filipinos were celebrating Christmas.
The tropical depression has been given the local name Usman, becoming the Philippines' 21st tropical cyclone for 2018. The country's average number of tropical cyclones per year is only 20. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018)
In a briefing around 5:40 pm on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tropical Depression Usman is now 945 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It is moving northwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).
The tropical depression has maximum winds of 45km/h and gustiness of up to 60 km/h. It could intensify further into a tropical storm before hitting land. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
At the moment, Usman has no direct effect on any part of the country yet.
But by Wednesday, December 26, tropical cyclone warning signals may be raised over provinces in Eastern Visayas and the northern part of the Caraga region.
Moderate to heavy rain may begin affecting Eastern Visayas, Surigao del Norte, and the Dinagat Islands on Wednesday evening, or on Thursday morning, December 27.
Residents should watch out for possible flash floods and landslides. Sea travel may also be disrupted as Usman approaches.
The tropical depression could make landfall in Eastern Visayas, possibly in Eastern Samar, on Friday, December 28.
It is expected to leave PAR on Sunday evening, December 30, or on Monday morning, December 31.
Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan has weakened. It will only be felt in extreme Northern Luzon on Wednesday, after affecting the entire Luzon in the past days.
Batanes, the Babuyan Group of Islands, and the Ilocos Region will have light rain, but PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact."
The rest of the country, not affected by the northeast monsoon, will only have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.
Due to the northeast monsoon, however, a gale warning was issued at 5 pm on Tuesday for Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Ilocos Norte, and the northern coast of Cagayan.
Seas off those areas are moderate to rough, with wave heights reaching 2.5 meters to 3.1 meters. Fishermen and others with small vessels must be on alert.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com