Tropical Depression Samuel off to Dinagat-Samar-Leyte area

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Samuel maintained its strength in the early hours of Tuesday, November 20, as it moved toward the area of Dinagat Islands, Samar, and Leyte.

In a bulletin issued 2 am on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Samuel is already 390 kilometers east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. It is now moving northwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 65 km/h. But it is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm within the next 24 hours.

Samuel is expected to make landfall in the Dinagat-Samar-Leyte area on Tuesday evening, already as a tropical storm.

Signal No. 1 is now raised in:

PAGASA warned that moderate to heavy rain may trigger flash floods and landslides in Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Negros Occidental, Davao Oriental, and Compostela Valley.

Residents of those areas should be on alert, especially if they live near rivers, in low-lying communities, or in mountainous regions. PAGASA stressed the need to monitor weather updates and follow local authorities' instructions. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Classes have been suspended in parts of the Visayas and Mindanao for Tuesday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Tuesday, November 20)

Fishermen and others with small sea vessels are also advised not to set sail in areas under Signal No. 1 and in the eastern and southern seaboards of Mindanao.

A gale warning was issued at 5 pm on Monday, November 19, for Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental.

Seas off those areas are rough to very rough, with wave heights reaching 2.6 meters to 4.5 meters.

If Samuel maintains its speed, it would exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday evening, November 22.

Samuel is the Philippines' 19th tropical cyclone for 2018. The country usually gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018)

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Samuel as of November 20, 2018, 2 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Samuel as of November 20, 2018, 2 am.

Image from PAGASA

Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan will continue to trigger isolated light rains in the Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon on Tuesday. But PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact."

The rest of Luzon will only have localized thunderstorms on Tuesday. But flash floods and landslides are possible if the thunderstorms become severe.

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