PAGASA monitors Severe Tropical Storm Maria outside PAR, monsoon

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MANILA, Philippines – State weather bureau PAGASA said parts of the country will have rain on Friday, July 6, due to the southwest monsoon. It also continues to monitor a potential typhoon outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

In a bulletin issued 4 pm on Thursday, July 5, PAGASA warned that Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Western Visayas, and the Zamboanga Peninsula would have light to heavy rain on Friday. These areas should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

The rest of the country will also have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms, which may trigger flash floods and landslides, too. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Meanwhile, the weather disturbance outside PAR which was a tropical depression on Wednesday, July 4, has since become a tropical storm and then a severe tropical storm. It was given the international name Maria.

PAGASA said Severe Tropical Storm Maria already has maximum winds of 90 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center and gustiness of up to 115 km/h. It could intensify further into a typhoon within the next 24 hours.

The severe tropical storm is now located 2,050 kilometers east of Southern Luzon, moving west northwest at 15 km/h. Since it is still outside PAR, it has no effect on the country at the moment.

If Maria's speed and direction do not change, however, it could enter PAR by Monday morning, July 9. It would then be given the local name Gardo.

Maria or the potential Gardo is unlikely to make landfall in the Philippines, but PAGASA warned that it might enhance the southwest monsoon, which would bring more rain to Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Western Visayas, and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

PAGASA advised the public to continue monitoring weather updates as the forecast for the severe tropical storm may still change in the coming days.

PAGASA had declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com