PAGASA to residents, travelers: Brace for Usman
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman slowed down on its way to Eastern Visayas late Thursday morning, December 27, as forecasters urged all residents and travelers to monitor weather updates and warnings.
In a press briefing past 11 am on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is already 450 kilometers east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, or 440 kilometers east southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
It is now moving west at a slightly slower 15 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 20 km/h.
The tropical depression still has 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)
Signal No. 1 is now raised in 18 areas:
- Camarines Sur
- Masbate including Ticao Island and Burias Island
- Eastern Samar
- Northern Samar
- Southern Leyte
- northern part of Cebu including Camotes Islands
- northern part of Iloilo
- northern part of Negros Occidental
- Dinagat Islands
Moderate to heavy rain is expected in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, and the Dinagat Islands starting Thursday.
There will also be moderate to heavy rain in the Visayas, Bicol, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Quezon on Friday, December 28.
Usman could make landfall in Eastern Samar on Friday afternoon.
Also from Friday afternoon until Saturday, December 29, expect light to heavy rain in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa.
Areas in Usman's path should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.
PAGASA also warned that sea travel is risky in areas under Signal No. 1, as well as in the northern and western seaboards of Northern Luzon, and eastern seaboard of the Surigao provinces. This is due to both Usman and the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan. (READ: Tropical Depression Usman: Areas where sea travel is suspended)
"Nasa festive mood or holiday mood pa rin po tayo, baka po tayo ay medyo masyadong relaxed sa ating mino-monitor na bagyo. Lalo na po 'yung pagplaplano ng inyong biyahe, makipag-coordinate na po tayo doon sa mga kinauukulan para hindi po tayo ma-stranded doon sa mga ports," said PAGASA Weather Division chief Esperanza Cayanan in the press briefing.
(We're still in a festive mood or holiday mood, so we might become too relaxed with this tropical cyclone we're monitoring. Especially when it comes to planning your trips, coordinate with the authorities so you won't be stranded at the ports.)
PAGASA said it is no longer advisable to go to seaports in the following areas later on Thursday, since Signal No. 1 could be raised in the afternoon and prompt the cancellation of trips:
- Camarines Norte
- southern part of Quezon
- southern part of Oriental Mindoro
- southern part of Iloilo
Based on its latest forecast track, Usman is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility either on Sunday evening, December 30, or on Monday morning, December 31.
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 is affecting Northern Luzon on Thursday.
Cagayan Valley, the Ilocos Region, and the Cordillera Administrative Region 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, only have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms on Thursday.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com