Eastern Samar under Signal No. 1 due to Usman
MANILA, Philippines – The province of Eastern Samar was placed under Signal No. 1 on Wednesday evening, December 26, as Tropical Depression Usman continued moving toward land.
In a briefing at 11 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is already 565 kilometers east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.
It is now moving west northwest at a slightly faster 20 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 15 km/h.
The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 65 km/h. But it is likely to strengthen into a tropical storm before hitting land. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Moderate to heavy rain is expected in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Surigao del Norte, and the Dinagat Islands on Thursday, December 27. PAGASA warned these areas to 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, 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 on Saturday, December 29.
PAGASA also warned that sea travel is risky in the eastern seaboards of Eastern Samar, the Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.
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