A tropical depression entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) at 8 am on Wednesday, February 17, becoming the country's first tropical cyclone for 2021.
The tropical depression was given the local name Auring. It would be given an international name if it strengthens into a tropical storm.
In a bulletin issued 11 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tropical Depression Auring is now 900 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
At its current location, Auring is still too far to affect any part of the country.
The tropical depression is moving west southwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h), generally toward Mindanao.
So far, Auring has maximum sustained winds of 45 km/h and gustiness of up to 55 km/h. But it is forecast to intensify into a tropical storm before hitting land.
Auring is projected to make landfall in the region of Caraga on Saturday evening, February 20, or Sunday morning, February 21, as a tropical storm. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Its track, however, may still change. PAGASA emphasized that there is still a high degree of uncertainty since Auring is still far from land.
As of Wednesday morning, there is no rainfall from Auring yet. But PAGASA advised the following areas to brace for heavy rain from the tropical cyclone this coming weekend and possibly until Monday, February 22:
There are also no areas under tropical cyclone wind signals, so far. But PAGASA said Signal No. 1 could be raised in parts of Caraga and the Davao Region as early as Friday, February 19, to warn residents that "strong breeze to near-gale conditions" are expected.
When tropical cyclone wind signals are raised, maritime activities may also be disrupted, added the state weather bureau.
"Maaga po tayong nagpaabiso ngayon dahil kahit malayo pa 'yung bagyo, kailangan po natin mag-prepare.... Kailangan po nating maghandang mabuti dahil by Friday po...posibleng makaranas na ng pag-ulan," said Esperanza Cayanan, officer-in-charge of PAGASA's Office of the Deputy Administrator for Research and Development.
(We're issuing an advisory this early because we already need to prepare even though the tropical cyclone is still far from land. We need to prepare well since the rain could start by Friday.)
"Posible pong magkaroon ng mga changes – posibleng bumilis, posible ding lumakas...so kailangan updated tayo araw-araw," she added.
(Changes are possible – it could speed up, it could also strengthen...so the public must be updated daily.)
Image from PAGASA
While Auring is not yet causing rain, PAGASA warned that the tail-end of a frontal system or shear line will continue to affect parts of the country on Wednesday.
PAGASA stressed that floods and landslides are possible.
"Kung 'yung eastern section ay apektado nung shear line at meron tayong bagyo, mas marami pong clouds ang mafo-form.... Mas malakas 'yung ulan na mararanasan diyan sa may Mindanao and Visayas," Cayanan said.
(Since the eastern section [of the country] is affected by the shear line and we have a tropical cyclone, more clouds will form. Mindanao and the Visayas will experience heavier rainfall.)
Each year, around 20 tropical cyclones form within or enter PAR.
These are PAGASA's latest estimates for the number of tropical cyclones inside PAR in the next 6 months: