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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Kong-rey strengthened further on Monday morning, October 1, ahead of its expected entry into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
In a bulletin released past 11 am on Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Kong-rey now has maximum winds of 145 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 130 km/h and gustiness of up to 180 km/h from the previous 160 km/h.
The typhoon is already 1,515 kilometers east of Central Luzon, moving west northwest at 15 km/h. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Based on its latest forecast track, it is expected to enter PAR on Monday afternoon. It would become the Philippines’ 17th tropical cyclone for 2018 and would be given the local name Queenie.
The country usually gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2018)
If the forecast track of Kong-rey or the potential Queenie does not change, then it would be unlikely to make landfall in the Philippines or even come near land.
But PAGASA earlier said the trough or extension of Kong-rey will bring scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms to Bicol and Eastern Visayas on Monday. Flash floods and landslides are possible if the thunderstorms become severe.
The rest of the country will only have localized thunderstorms on Monday, mostly in the afternoon or evening. But there could be flash floods and landslides, too, if the thunderstorms bring heavy rain.
Meanwhile, PAGASA also issued a gale warning at 5 am on Monday due to Typhoon Paeng (Trami), which had left PAR on Saturday, September 29. Paeng did not make landfall in the Philippines, but has been affecting coastal waters.
The gale warning covers Batanes, Calayan, the Babuyan Group of Islands, the northern coast of Cagayan, and the northern coast of Ilocos Norte.
Seas off those areas are rough to very rough, with wave heights reaching 2.8 meters to 4.5 meters.
PAGASA advised fishermen and others with small vessels not to set sail in areas covered by the gale warning. Larger vessels should watch out for big waves.
PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com
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