MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Mangkhut strengthened even more on Tuesday afternoon, September 11, a day before its expected entry into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
In a Facebook Live video past 5 pm on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Mangkhut now has maximum winds of 185 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 170 km/h and gustiness of up to 225 km/h from the previous 210 km/h.
Mangkhut is already 1,650 kilometers east of Southern Luzon, moving west at a slightly faster 30 km/h from the previous 25 km/h.
Since it remains over water, it might still strengthen into a super typhoon, the strongest tropical cyclone category. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Mangkhut is expected to enter PAR on Wednesday afternoon, September 12. When it does, it would be given the local name Ompong. (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2018)
PAGASA said the typhoon is threatening Northern Luzon and may cross the Cagayan-Batanes area on Saturday, September 15.
Signal No. 1 could be raised in some areas as early as Wednesday evening.
The state weather bureau on Monday afternoon, September 10, advised residents to already prepare for Mangkhut or the potential Ompong.
The typhoon might also strengthen the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat, which would bring light to moderate rain to the Zamboanga Peninsula, Western Visayas, and Palawan starting Thursday, September 13.
Meanwhile, the trough or extension of Neneng (Barijat) will still bring scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms to Batanes, the Babuyan Group of Islands, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur, even if the tropical storm is already outside PAR.
Barijat is now 425 kilometers west of extreme Northern Luzon, moving west southwest at a slower 15 km/h from the previous 20 km/h.
It now has maximum winds of 85 km/h from the previous 65 km/h and gustiness of up to 105 km/h from the previous 85 km/h.
Neneng was the Philippines’ 14th tropical cyclone for 2018. The country usually gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com