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MANILA, Philippines – (2nd UPDATE) Tropical Storm Amang (international name Mekkhala) maintained its strength late Saturday morning, January 17, as it moves closer to Eastern Samar, state weather bureau PAGASA said.
More areas were also placed under public storm warning signal number 2. Amang may hit Borongan City, Eastern Samar Saturday afternoon or early evening, PAGASA added.
But as of 9:40 am, both Weather Philippines and the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center have upgraded Amang into a typhoon, with winds up to 120 km/h. Landfall in Eastern Samar is expected around 4:00 pm Saturday.
The tropical storm will cut short Pope Francis’ trip to Leyte Saturday. His plane took off from Villamor Airbase in Pasay City shortly past 7:30 am.
As of 10 am Saturday, Amang was located at 120 km east northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar, with maximum sustained winds of 100 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 130 km/h.
It is moving northwest at 17 km/h, with heavy to intense rainfall (7.5 to 20 mm) estimated within its 400 km diameter.
Signal number 2, which brings stormy weather with heavy to intense rains, is now raised over the following areas:
- Camarines Sur
- Burias Island, including Ticao Island
- Northern Samar
- Eastern Samar
- Leyte including Biliran
“Residents along coastal areas are alerted against possible storm surges of less than 2 meters,” PAGASA said. Meanwhile, the following areas are under signal number 1, with winds of 30 to 60 km/h expected in at least 36 hours:
- Camarines Norte
- Quezon Including Polillo Island
- Oriental Mindoro
- Northern Iloilo
- Northern part of Negros Occidental
- Southern Leyte
- Northern Cebu including Cebu City
- Bantayan Island
- Camotes Island
- Dinagat Island
In areas with storm signals, PAGASA warned residents in low lying and mountainous areas against possible flashfloods and landslides. Ocean waves may also reach up to 9 meters within the diameter of the storm.
There is also a possibility of raising signal number 1 over Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Aurora in the next 6 hours.
Amang is expected to be in the vicinity of Legazpi City by Sunday morning, January 18; at 50 km northeast of Baler, Aurora by Monday morning, January 19, and; at 235 km northeast of Aparri Cagayan by Tuesday morning, January 20.
“Fisherfolks and those with small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and the eastern seaboard of Mindanao,” PAGASA said.
The next bulletin on Amang will be issued 5 pm Saturday. – Rappler.com
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