Usman, still hardly moving, may hit land later than expected
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman remained almost stationary over the Philippine Sea late Friday afternoon, December 28.
In a bulletin issued 5 pm on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is located 285 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, barely moving.
The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 65 km/h. It is now unlikely to strengthen into a tropical storm, after initial projections that it could. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Signal No. 1 is still raised in the following areas:
- northern part of Palawan including Calamian Group of Islands and Cuyo Group of Islands
- southern part of Quezon
- Camarines Norte
- Camarines Sur
- Masbate including Ticao Island and Burias Island
- southern part of Occidental Mindoro
- southern part of Oriental Mindoro
- Eastern Samar
- Northern Samar
- Southern Leyte
- northern part of Cebu including Camotes Islands
- northern part of Negros Occidental
- Dinagat Islands
Due to Usman's erratic movement and extremely slow pace, it is now expected to make landfall in Eastern Samar either on Friday evening or early Saturday morning, December 29. The earlier forecast was for a possible Friday landfall only, not Saturday.
Moderate to heavy rain will continue in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, and Quezon, while light to heavy rain will prevail over Metro Manila, Mimaropa, Aurora, the rest of Calabarzon, and the rest of the Visayas on Friday evening.
On Saturday, there will also be moderate to heavy rain in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol, as well as light to heavy rain in the Visayas and Aurora.
Areas in Usman's path should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.
PAGASA also warned that sea travel remains risky in areas under Signal No. 1, as well as in the seaboards of Northern Luzon, the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, and the eastern seaboard of the Surigao provinces. This is due to both Usman and the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan.
Thousands of passengers have been stranded at various ports due to the suspension of ferry trips.
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 will affect Central Luzon and Northern Luzon on Saturday.
The Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, and much of Calabarzon will have light to moderate rain from the northeast monsoon. Flash floods and landslides are possible.
The rest of Mindanao, not affected by either Usman or the northeast monsoon, will only have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms on Saturday.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com