Tropical Depression Usman nears Eastern Visayas
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman slightly accelerated as it moved closer to Eastern Visayas before dawn on Saturday, December 29, shortly before its expected landfall in Eastern Samar in the morning.
In a bulletin issued 5 am on Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is already 65 kilometers east southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
It is now moving west at a faster 15 kilometers per hour (km/h), after its slow pace earlier.
The tropical depression still has maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 65 km/h. It is no longer expected to intensify into a tropical storm. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
After hitting land, Usman will likely cross Leyte, Panay Island, the Sulu Sea, Palawan, and the West Philippine Sea.
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
Moderate to heavy rain will continue in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Aurora, while light to heavy rain will persist in Metro Manila and the Visayas on Saturday.
Residents should watch out for flash floods and landslides, especially in low-lying communities or mountainous areas.
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 is affecting Northern Luzon and Central Luzon on Saturday.
It will bring light to heavy rain to Metro Manila, the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, and much of Calabarzon. 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