Rain from Tropical Depression Usman to begin December 26
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman is expected to begin bringing rain to parts of the Visayas and Mindanao on Wednesday, December 26.
In a briefing at 5 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is already 795 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
It accelerated before dawn, and is now moving west northwest at a faster 20 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 10 km/h.
The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 45 km/h and gustiness of up to 60 km/h. But it could intensify into a tropical storm before hitting land. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Scattered rains and thunderstorms, ranging from light to heavy, are already expected in Eastern Visayas, the Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur on Wednesday. This is due to Usman's trough or extension.
Later on Wednesday, Signal No. 1 may be raised over provinces in Eastern Visayas and the northern part of the Caraga region. Residents should watch out for possible flash floods and landslides.
Moderate to heavy rain is expected to persist in Eastern Visayas and Bicol on Thursday, December 27, and Friday, December 28.
Usman could make landfall in Eastern Samar on Friday.
It may then cross the northern parts of Leyte, Cebu, and Panay Island, then the Sulu Sea and Palawan, before leaving the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday, December 31.
Sea travel is also expected to be disrupted as Usman approaches.
A gale warning was already issued at 5 am on Wednesday for Eastern Samar and Siargao Island.
Seas off those areas are rough to very rough, with wave heights reaching 2.8 meters to 4.5 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.
Usman is 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)
Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan is affecting Northern Luzon.
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 either Usman or the northeast monsoon, will only have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com