Auring intensified from a tropical depression into a tropical storm at 8 am on Thursday, February 18, while moving slowly over the Philippine Sea.
In a bulletin issued 11 am on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Auring now has maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 80 km/h.
It previously had maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 70 km/h.
There is now a possibility that Auring could strengthen further into a severe tropical storm prior to landfall, based on PAGASA’s forecast.
Auring is currently located 685 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, slowly moving northwest toward Mindanao. PAGASA said it might speed up on Friday, February 19, as it turns more west northwest.
For now, its projected landfall remains in the region of Caraga, possibly on Saturday evening, February 20, or Sunday morning, February 21. This may change depending on Auring’s direction and speed. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
PAGASA said the tropical storm is not yet expected to bring heavy rain on Thursday.
But the state weather bureau warned that there remains “an increasing likelihood of heavy rainfall” this coming weekend until Monday, February 22. The following areas should prepare for possible floods and landslides:
- Occidental Mindoro
- Oriental Mindoro
- northern part of Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands
- Northern Mindanao
- Davao Oriental
- Davao de Oro
- Davao del Norte
- Lanao del Sur
Tropical cyclone wind signals are not yet raised. But PAGASA said Signal No. 1 could be raised in parts of Caraga and the Davao Region as early as Friday to warn residents that “strong breeze to near-gale conditions” are expected.
The state weather bureau also warned that coastal waters are affected by the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan, as well as Auring.
Rough to very rough seas (waves 2.8 to 5 meters high)
Sea travel is risky
- seaboards of Northern Luzon
- eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao
Moderate to rough seas (waves 1.2 to 3.1 meters high)
Small vessels must take precautionary measures, inexperienced mariners should avoid navigation
- rest of the seaboards of the Philippines
Each year, around 20 tropical cyclones form within or enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2021)
These are PAGASA’s latest estimates for the number of tropical cyclones inside PAR in the next 6 months:
- February – 0 or 1
- March – 0 or 1
- April – 0 or 1
- May – 0 or 1
- June – 1 or 2
- July – 2 or 3
PAGASA earlier said La Niña is expected to continue until March 2021, causing above normal rainfall in the country. The onset of La Niña was declared in October 2020. – Rappler.com