MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Salome maintained its strength and direction early Thursday afternoon, November 9, as it crossed Legazpi City, Albay.
In a bulletin issued past 2 pm on Thursday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Salome is already 50 kilometers west southwest of Legazpi City, moving west northwest at 25 kilometers per hour (km/h). It is heading for the southern Quezon-Marinduque area.
The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 90 km/h.
With its current speed, the tropical depression is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) early Saturday morning, November 11 – before leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations arrive in the country for the 31st ASEAN Summit. (READ: Bad weather results in cancelled flights on Thursday, Nov 9)
Most ASEAN leaders will arrive on Sunday, November 12, coming from the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vietnam, which Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is also attending. PAGASA said the weather will likely be better by then, as long as no new low pressure area or tropical cyclone develops.
Signal number 1 is raised in the following areas in Luzon and the Visayas:
There is moderate to heavy rainfall within the 250-kilometer diameter of the tropical depression. Flash floods and landslides are possible.
Aside from areas under signal number 1, PAGASA also warned the eastern part of Central Luzon to be on alert for flash floods and landslides as well. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
"Sana po ay maghanda po tayo kahit [tropical] depression lang siya.... Malakas 'yung ulan na dala-dala ni Salome at marami pong area na landslide-prone tsaka bahaing lugar," said PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano in a news briefing late Thursday morning.
(I hope we will prepare even though Salome is just a tropical depression.... Salome will bring heavy rain and there are many landslide-prone and flood-prone areas in its path.)
For its part, power system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said it has implemented precautions to "minimize the impact of Tropical Depression Salome on transmission operations and facilities."
"Preparations included ensuring the reliability of communications equipment, availability of hardware materials and supplies necessary for the repair of damage to facilities, as well as the positioning of line crews in strategic areas, to facilitate immediate restoration work," the NGCP said in a statement on Thursday.
Meanwhile, sea travel remains suspended in areas under signal number 1 due to moderate to rough seas. PAGASA warned fishing boats and other vessels not to venture out into sea.
Based on Salome's latest forecast track, it will cross the Sibuyan Sea between Luzon and the Visayas on Thursday afternoon, then cross the northern Mindoro-Batangas area on Thursday night or early Friday morning, November 10.
It will then eventually exit PAR early Saturday.
Image courtesy of PAGASA