Tropical Depression Samuel off to Sulu Sea

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Samuel left the Visayas early Wednesday afternoon, November 21, and started moving toward the Sulu Sea.

In a bulletin issued 2 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Samuel is already 70 kilometers west southwest of Iloilo City, Iloilo, or 120 kilometers east southeast of Cuyo, Palawan.

It made landfall in the Visayas 5 times on Wednesday:

The tropical depression continues to move west southwest at a relatively fast 40 kilometers per hour (km/h).

It continues to have maximum winds of 45 km/h, while its gustiness increased from 65 km/h to 70 km/h.

There are now fewer areas under Signal No. 1:

PAGASA also warned that moderate to heavy rain may still trigger flash floods and landslides in Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Catanduanes.

Residents of those areas should stay 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 am on Wednesday 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 (PAR) either on Thursday evening, November 22, or before dawn on Friday, November 23.

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 pm. Image from PAGASA

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

Image from PAGASA

Aside from Samuel, PAGASA is also monitoring a tropical storm outside PAR, with the international name Man-yi.

Tropical Storm Man-yi is 2,950 kilometers east of Mindanao, moving west northwest over the Pacific Ocean at 20 km/h. It has maximum winds of 75 km/h and gustiness of up to 90 km/h.

At the moment, Man-yi only has a slim chance of entering PAR, but PAGASA advised the public to continue monitoring updates in case of any changes.

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

The rest of Mindanao 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