Tropical Storm Falcon slightly intensifies, more monsoon rain seen

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Falcon (Danas) slightly intensified late Thursday morning, July 18, hours ahead of its expected exit from the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

In a bulletin issued 11 am on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Falcon is already 385 kilometers north northeast of Basco, Batanes.

It is still moving north at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h), on its way out of PAR. It is expected to exit on Thursday evening.

The tropical storm now has maximum winds of 75 km/h from the previous 65 km/h and gustiness of up to 90 km/h from the previous 80 km/h.

Only Batanes remains under a tropical cyclone wind signal, at Signal No. 1. This means rain and gusty winds are still expected in the province.

Falcon had made landfall in Gattaran, Cagayan, at 12:30 am on Wednesday, July 17. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Falcon (Danas) as of July 18, 2019, 11 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Falcon (Danas) as of July 18, 2019, 11 am.

Image from PAGASA

The tropical storm also continues to enhance the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat.

Also enhancing the southwest monsoon – a low pressure area (LPA) now located 250 kilometers west northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur. This LPA may develop into a tropical depression within 48 hours.

For the rest of Thursday, rain will persist in the following areas due to the enhanced southwest monsoon:

PAGASA reiterated that flash floods and landslides remain possible in those areas. (READ: Rehabilitation body appeals for public understanding amid Boracay flooding)

Classes were suspended for Thursday in parts of Luzon. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Thursday, July 18, 2019)

Sea travel also remains risky in the seaboards of Luzon and the western seaboard of the Visayas.

Falcon is the Philippines' 6th tropical cyclone for 2019. The first 5 were all tropical depressions. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

The Philippines gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, but since 2019 is an El Niño year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones are expected.

Below is the estimated number of tropical cyclones from July to December:

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. – Rappler.com