Tropical Storm Hanna slows down, still enhancing monsoon

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Hanna (Lekima) slowed down on Monday afternoon, August 5, while still enhancing the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat.

In a briefing at 5 pm on Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Hanna is already 845 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan.

The tropical storm is now moving west northwest at 10 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 15 km/h.

Hanna maintained its strength, with maximum winds of 85 km/h and gustiness of up to 105 km/h. But it is expected to intensify into a severe tropical storm and then a typhoon while inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

There are no areas under tropical cyclone wind signals, since Hanna is far from land. It is also unlikely to make landfall in the country.

But the tropical storm continues to enhance the southwest monsoon, which is affecting Luzon and the Visayas.

For Monday night and possibly until Tuesday, August 6, these are the affected areas:

Residents of those areas must remain on alert for possible flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Due to the southwest monsoon and Hanna, PAGASA issued a gale warning at 5 pm on Monday.

PAGASA warned of rough to very rough seas with wave heights reaching 2.8 meters to 4.5 meters in the following areas:

PAGASA said fishing boats and other small vessels should not set sail, while larger vessels must watch out for big waves.

Based on Hanna's latest forecast track, it is expected to leave PAR on Friday, August 9.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Hanna (Lekima) as of August 5, 2019, 5 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Hanna (Lekima) as of August 5, 2019, 5 pm.

Image from PAGASA

Meanwhile, PAGASA is also monitoring a new low pressure area (LPA) east of Southern Luzon, outside PAR.

PAGASA Weather Specialist Aldczar Aurelio said the LPA is expected to develop into a tropical depression within the next 24 hours. Updates will be given in succeeding briefings.

Hanna is the Philippines' 8th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 1st for the month of August. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

The country 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 August to December:

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