Tropical Depression Samuel makes landfall in Eastern Samar

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Samuel made landfall in Borongan City, Eastern Samar, at 2 am on Wednesday, November 21.

In a bulletin released past 2 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Samuel is already 30 kilometers east of Borongan City.

The tropical depression is now moving northwest at a slightly faster 20 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 15 km/h.

Samuel maintained its strength as it hit land, with maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 65 km/h.

Signal No. 1 has been lifted for areas in Mindanao, as the tropical depression moved upward toward the Visayas. Only the following remain under Signal No. 1:

PAGASA also warned that moderate to heavy rain may trigger flash floods and landslides in Western Visayas, Bicol, Mimaropa, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and the southern part of Quezon.

Residents of those areas should be on alert, especially if they live near rivers, in low-lying communities, or in mountainous regions. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Classes have been suspended in parts of Luzon and the Visayas for Wednesday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Wednesday, November 21)

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

A gale warning was issued at 5 pm on Tuesday, November 20, for Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, the eastern coast of Albay, the eastern coast of Sorsogon, the eastern coast of Quezon including Polillo Island, Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Cagayan, Isabela, the northern coast of Ilocos Norte, and Aurora.

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

Thousands of passengers have been stranded in various ports in the country.

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 21, 2018, 2 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Samuel as of November 21, 2018, 2 am.

Image from PAGASA

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

Metro Manila and the rest of the country not affected by either Samuel or the northeast monsoon will only have localized thunderstorms on Wednesday. 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