Tropical Depression Ofel heads for Burias Island in Masbate

Tropical Depression Ofel maintained its strength but slowed down late Wednesday morning, October 14, while moving toward Burias Island in the province of Masbate.

Ofel has made landfall twice so far, both on Wednesday:

In a bulletin at 11 am, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the tropical depression is already 50 kilometers west of Juban, Sorsogon.

It slowed down, however, and is now moving west northwest at 10 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 25 km/h.

Aside from Burias Island, it may also pass close to or over Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, and Occidental Mindoro on Wednesday, before emerging over the West Philippine Sea on Thursday morning, October 15.

Ofel still has maximum winds of 45 km/h and gustiness of up to 55 km/h. It is likely to remain a tropical depression while crossing Southern Luzon, but may intensify into a tropical storm over the West Philippine Sea.

PAGASA provided an updated rainfall forecast for areas affected by Ofel, covering Wednesday until Thursday morning. Note that areas in Eastern Visayas have been removed from the list, while more regions in Luzon have been added.

Moderate to heavy rain, with at times intense rain
  • Bicol
  • Calabarzon
  • Aurora
  • Marinduque
  • Romblon
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Occidental Mindoro
Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain
  • rest of Central Luzon
  • Metro Manila
  • Cagayan Valley
  • Cordillera Administrative Region

Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat is the source of rain in the southern Philippines – not the tropical depression.

Moderate to heavy rain
  • Caraga
  • Davao Region
  • Sarangani
Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain
  • rest of Mindanao

PAGASA stressed that there could be floods and landslides as heavy rain batters parts of the country.

In terms of winds, there are no more areas in the Visayas under Signal No. 1 as of 11 am. But parts of Luzon are still under Signal No. 1, with PAGASA warning of "strong- to near gale-force winds" when Ofel passes through.

  • Batangas
  • southern part of Laguna (Luisiana, Majayjay, Liliw, Nagcarlan, Rizal, San Pablo City, Calauan, Alaminos, Los Baños, Bay, Magdalena)
  • central and southern parts of Quezon (Guinayangan, Tagkawayan, Buenavista, San Narciso, San Andres, Mulanay, San Francisco, Catanauan, Lopez, Calauag, Quezon, Alabat, Perez, Atimonan, Tayabas City, Mauban, Sampaloc, Lucban, Gumaca, General Luna, Macalelon, Pitogo, Unisan, Plaridel, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Pagbilao, Lucena City, Sariaya, Candelaria, Dolores, Tiaong, San Antonio)
  • Calamian Islands
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Marinduque
  • Romblon
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Catanduanes
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands

PAGASA added that there may be occasional gusts due to the northeasterly surface windflow being enhanced by Ofel and Tropical Storm Nangka – formerly Nika when it was inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). These areas would be affected:

  • Batanes
  • northern and eastern parts of Cagayan including Babuyan Islands
  • northern parts of Apayao, Ilocos Norte, and Quezon
  • eastern part of Isabela
  • Aurora

A gale warning remains in effect due to rough seas, with waves 2.8 to 4 meters high, caused by the northeasterly surface windflow in the seaboards of Batanes and Ilocos Norte, as well as the northern seaboard of Cagayan including Babuyan Islands. PAGASA said travel is risky, especially for small vessels.

Moderate to rough seas, with waves 2.1 to 3.7 meters high, will be caused by Ofel in the eastern seaboards of Luzon and the Visayas in the next 24 hours. PAGASA advised small vessels not to venture out to sea.

Ofel is forecast to exit PAR on Friday morning or afternoon, October 16. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Ofel as of October 14, 2020, 11 am.

Image from PAGASA

Ofel is the Philippines' 15th tropical cyclone for 2020, and the 2nd for October.

An average of 20 tropical cyclones form within or enter PAR each year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2020)

PAGASA gave the following estimates for the number of tropical cyclones inside PAR in the next 6 months:

  • October 2020 - 2 or 3
  • November 2020 - 1 or 2
  • December 2020 - 1 or 2
  • January 2021 - 1 or 2
  • February 2021 - 0 or 1
  • March 2021 - 0 or 1

Last October 2, the state weather bureau warned Filipinos to expect more rain in the coming months due to the onset of La Niña– Rappler.com