Sarah weakens into tropical storm; northeast monsoon affects parts of Luzon

Acor Arceo
Sarah weakens into tropical storm; northeast monsoon affects parts of Luzon
Tropical Storm Sarah (Fung-wong) is moving away, but the northeast monsoon is causing light to moderate rain and rough seas in parts of Luzon on Friday, November 22

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MANILA, Philippines – Sarah (Fung-wong) weakened further from a severe tropical storm into a tropical storm on Friday morning, November 22, as it continued moving away from the Philippines.

In a briefing at 11 am on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Sarah now has maximum winds of 85 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 95 km/h and gustiness of up to 105 km/h from the previous 115 km/h.

The tropical storm is already 430 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes. It is now moving north northeast at a slightly slower pace of 15 km/h from the previous 20 km/h.

Sarah did not make landfall in the Philippines, but its trough or extension earlier brought some rain to parts of Northern Luzon.

For Friday, PAGASA said Sarah “is no longer expected to bring significant rainfall activity over the country.” (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

The tropical storm is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility between Friday night and Saturday morning, November 23.

“It is forecast to gradually weaken as it moves towards the East China Sea in the next two days,” PAGASA added.

Sarah is the Philippines’ 19th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 3rd for November. (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Sarah (Fung-wong) as of November 22, 2019, 11 am. Image from PAGASA

While Sarah is moving away, however, the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan is affecting parts of Luzon.

Light to moderate rain may be experienced in the following areas on Friday:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bicol
  • Aurora
  • Quezon
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Bulacan

Due to the surge of the northeast monsoon, gusty conditions may persist in Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands on Friday as well. But “this condition is forecast to gradually weaken throughout the day,” said PAGASA.

The northeast monsoon is also causing rough sea conditions. Travel is risky, especially for small vessels, in these seaboards of Northern Luzon:

  • Batanes
  • Cagayan, including Babuyan Group of Islands
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Isabela

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, but since 2019 is an El Niño year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones had been projected.

With Sarah’s arrival, the estimate has been exceeded for the year and also for the month of November.

These had been the projections for the last two months of 2019:

  • November – 1 or 2
  • December – 0 or 1

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. –

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Acor Arceo

Acor Arceo is the head of copy and editorial standards at Rappler. Trained in both online and TV newsrooms, Acor ensures consistency in editorial standards across all sections and also supervises Rappler’s coverage of disasters.