Tropical cyclone threatens to ruin Christmas for parts of PH
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MANILA, Philippines – It could be a rainy Christmas for parts of the country, as a tropical cyclone may enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) next week.
In a briefing past 4 pm on Friday, December 20, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the low pressure area (LPA) outside PAR has since developed into a tropical depression.
This tropical depression is now 2,375 kilometers east of Mindanao, moving west northwest at 15 kilometers per hour (km/h).
It has maximum winds of 45 km/h and gustiness of up to 60 km/h.
According to PAGASA Weather Specialist Aldczar Aurelio, the tropical depression may enter PAR on Tuesday, December 24, or right on Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25.
When it enters PAR, it will be given the local name Ursula. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)
PAGASA warned that the tropical cyclone may trigger moderate to heavy rain and gusty winds in Southern Luzon, the Visayas, and the northeastern part of Mindanao beginning Christmas Eve until Thursday, December 26.
"Sea travelers are advised to exercise extra caution [from December 24 to 26] due to potentially rough seas over the coastal waters of Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao," added PAGASA in its special weather outlook for the holidays.
The tropical cyclone's exact path remains uncertain for now, since it is still outside PAR and far from land. But PAGASA said it may cross the Visayas. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
The weather in Southern Luzon, the Visayas, and the northeastern part of Mindanao may only begin to improve on Friday, December 27, once the tropical cyclone has passed.
As for Metro Manila, it could be spared from stormy weather. PAGASA expects generally fair weather in the capital region during Christmas, with only isolated thunderstorms.
PAGASA advised the public to continue monitoring updates on the looming weather disturbance.
Aside from the tropical cyclone, the state weather bureau is also keeping an eye on the LPA inside PAR.
This LPA is now 605 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
It remains unlikely to become a tropical depression, but its trough or extension is still affecting parts of Mindanao and the Visayas.
The following areas are experiencing scattered rainshowers and isolated thunderstorms due to the LPA's trough:
- Davao Region
- Northern Mindanao
- Eastern Visayas
- Central Visayas
PAGASA again warned that flash floods and landslides are possible during severe thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, the easterlies or warm winds blowing from the east are causing isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms in other parts of the country.
The Philippines has had 20 tropical cyclones in 2019 – the country's yearly average.
The latest was Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri), which left at least 4 people dead and 318 others injured in early December, according to the December 13 report of disaster management authorities.
In PAGASA's latest climate outlook, the state weather bureau said it expects 1 or 2 tropical cyclones for December.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. – Rappler.com