Rainy last week of 2018 expected due to Usman
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman maintained its strength and relatively slow pace on Wednesday afternoon, December 26, as it headed for land.
In a briefing past 5 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is already 690 kilometers east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It is moving northwest at 15 kilometers per hour (km/h).
The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 65 km/h. It is likely to strengthen into a tropical storm before hitting land. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
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 the Visayas, Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Aurora, Surigao del Norte, and Dinagat Islands starting Thursday until Saturday, December 29. Flash floods and landslides are possible.
Usman could make landfall in Eastern Samar on Friday, December 28.
It may then cross the northern parts of Leyte, Cebu, Masbate, and Panay Island, then the Sulu Sea, Palawan, and West Philippine Sea, before leaving the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday, December 31.
Though Metro Manila is not directly in Usman's path, light to heavy rain is still expected in the capital region on Friday and Saturday.
Weather in the Philippines will improve on the last day of 2018 after Usman leaves PAR.
PAGASA warned that sea travel is risky in the eastern seaboards of Southern Luzon, of the Visayas, and of Mindanao.
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 will continue to affect Northern Luzon on Thursday.
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 Thursday.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com