Tropical Depression Samuel over Sulu Sea, heading for Cuyo

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Samuel was over the Sulu Sea and approaching the Cuyo Archipelago late Wednesday afternoon, November 21.

In a bulletin issued 5 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Samuel is already 65 kilometers south southeast of Cuyo, Palawan.

It made landfall in the Visayas 5 times on Wednesday:

The tropical depression is now moving west at a slower 30 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 40 km/h.

It continues to have maximum winds of 45 km/h, while its gustiness decreased from 70 km/h to 60 km/h.

There are now fewer areas under Signal No. 1:

PAGASA warned that moderate to heavy rain may still trigger flash floods and landslides in Palawan including Cuyo and Calamian, Aurora, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Panay, and Guimaras.

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)

Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, and Marinduque will also have scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

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 Wednesday for Isabela, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, the eastern coast of Sorsogon, and the eastern coast of Quezon including Polillo Island.

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, 5 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Samuel as of November 21, 2018, 5 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 2,510 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 Thursday. But PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact."

The rest of the country not affected by Samuel or the northeast monsoon will only have localized thunderstorms on Thursday. But flash floods and landslides are possible if the thunderstorms become severe.

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