Surigao, Agusan provinces under signal no. 2 due to Vinta

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MANILA, Philippines – Four areas are now under signal number 2 as Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin) maintained its strength early Thursday morning, December 21, while moving toward Eastern Mindanao.

In a bulletin issued past 8 am on Thursday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Vinta is already 440 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, still moving west at 18 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The tropical storm continues to have maximum winds of 65 km/h and gustiness of up to 80 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Signal number 2 is now raised in:

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is up over:

PAGASA also warned that scattered to widespread rains are expected in Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, Davao, and Northern Mindanao within the next 24 hours. Residents of these areas should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

Sea travel is risky in areas under signal numbers 1 and 2. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Eastern Visayas is still reeling from the damage wrought by Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak), which battered the region as a tropical storm. National disaster management authorities said 41 people were killed and 45 others remain missing. Urduja had just left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) last Tuesday, December 19.

Based on its latest forecast track, Vinta is expected to make landfall in the Caraga-Davao area between Thursday evening and Friday morning, December 22.

After landfall, the tropical storm is expected to cross Northern Mindanao, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and southern Palawan.

It will then leave PAR on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Vinta as of December 21, 8 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Vinta as of December 21, 8 am.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

Meanwhile, the tail-end of a cold front will bring light to heavy rain on Thursday to the regions of Bicol, Mimaropa, and Calabarzon, as well as the provinces of Aurora and Quezon, including Polillo Island. Flash floods and landslides are possible.

The northeast monsoon is also affecting Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, and the rest of Central Luzon, but PAGASA said the scattered rainshowers will have "no significant impact." – Rappler.com