Slow-moving Usman set to hit land early December 29

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Usman slowly approached Eastern Visayas late Friday evening, December 28, ahead of its expected landfall in Eastern Samar.

In a bulletin issued 11 pm on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Usman is already 215 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, slowly moving west.

The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 65 km/h. It is now unlikely to strengthen into a tropical storm, after initial projections that it could. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Usman is expected to make landfall in Eastern Samar early Saturday morning, December 29. After hitting land, it will likely cross Leyte, Panay Island, the Sulu Sea, Palawan, and the West Philippine Sea.

Signal No. 1 remains up over the following areas:

Moderate to heavy rain will continue in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, and Quezon, while light to heavy rain will prevail over Metro Manila, Mimaropa, Aurora, the rest of Calabarzon, and the rest of the Visayas on Friday evening.

On Saturday, there will also be moderate to heavy rain in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Aurora, as well as light to heavy rain in the Visayas.

Areas in Usman's path should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

PAGASA also warned that sea travel remains risky in areas under Signal No. 1, as well as in the seaboards of Northern Luzon, the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, and the eastern seaboard of the Surigao provinces. This is due to both Usman and the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan.

Thousands of passengers have been stranded at various ports due to the suspension of ferry trips.

Based on its latest forecast track, Usman is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility either on Sunday evening, December 30, or on Monday morning, December 31.

Usman is the Philippines' 21st tropical cyclone for 2018. The country's average number of tropical cyclones per year is only 20. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018)

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Usman as of December 28, 2018, 11 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Usman as of December 28, 2018, 11 pm.

Image from PAGASA

Northeast monsoon

Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon will affect Central Luzon and Northern Luzon on Saturday.

The Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, and much of Calabarzon will have light to moderate rain from the northeast monsoon. Flash floods and landslides are possible.

The rest of Mindanao, not affected by either Usman or the northeast monsoon, will only have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms on Saturday.

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