Usman likely to strengthen into tropical storm
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman slightly intensified late Wednesday morning, December 26, as it slowed down again over water.
In a bulletin released past 11 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is 775 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
It is now moving west northwest at a slower 15 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 20 km/h.
The tropical depression now has maximum winds of 55 km/h from the previous 45 km/h and gustiness of up to 65 km/h from the previous 60 km/h. It is likely to strengthen 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.
But Signal No. 1 may be raised over provinces in Eastern Visayas and the northern part of the Caraga region on Wednesday night or on Thursday morning, December 27.
Moderate to heavy rain is expected in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Surigao del Norte, and the Dinagat Islands on Thursday. Residents should watch out for possible flash floods and landslides.
Usman could make landfall in Eastern Samar on Friday, December 28.
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.
PAGASA also warned fishermen and others with small vessels not to set sail in the eastern seaboards of Eastern Samar, the Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur due to rough seas caused by Usman.
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 on Wednesday.
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 on Wednesday.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com