PAGASA warns parts of Luzon: Brace for Typhoon Kammuri

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MANILA, Philippines – The state weather bureau warned of potential hazards next week as Kammuri strengthened from a severe tropical storm into a typhoon outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday morning, November 28.

The hazards are all the more a cause of concern, as the Philippines is currently hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games until December 11.

In a press briefing past 11 am on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Kammuri now has maximum winds of 120 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 150 km/h.

The typhoon is already 1,430 kilometers east of the Visayas, moving west northwest at a slow pace of 10 km/h.

Since Kammuri continues to move over water, PAGASA said "steady intensification is likely," though still within typhoon category. The state weather bureau is not ruling out the possibility that Kammuri could become a super typhoon, but said there is only a slim chance of this happening.

Kammuri is now expected to enter PAR between Saturday, November 30, and Sunday, December 1, if it maintains its current speed and direction.

When Kammuri enters PAR, it will be given the local name Tisoy. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

What is expected in terms of wind and rainfall? PAGASA said that as early as Sunday, it may start placing some areas under a tropical cyclone wind signal. In particular, Signal No. 1 may be raised over the eastern part of the Bicol-Eastern Visayas area. Sea travel could be disrupted.

By Monday, December 2, the outer rainbands of Kammuri or the potential Tisoy may bring scattered rain and thunderstorms to Bicol and Eastern Visayas. The rain could be moderate to heavy.

Possibly on Tuesday, December 3, the typhoon could make landfall in Southern Luzon, or the Bicol area up to Aurora. But PAGASA Weather Specialist Raymond Ordinario emphasized that since this is 4 to 5 days away, the forecast still has a high degree of uncertainty.

Assuming Kammuri does hit land on Tuesday, the critical days would be Tuesday and also Wednesday, December 4, as the typhoon would still be crossing landmass then.

On Tuesday and possibly until Wednesday morning, frequent to continuous heavy rain may be experienced across Bicol, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Samar Island.

The SEA Games events are all in Luzon, mostly in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

"Duration and extent of areas [affected] by these rains will depend on the orientation of the track and the speed of the typhoon," said PAGASA. The longer the typhoon lingers over a certain area, for instance, the more it could bring rain there.

During the same critical period as well, there may be occasional to frequent heavy rain in Northern Luzon due to the interaction of the typhoon with the tail-end of a cold front.

Forecast track of Typhoon Kammuri as of November 28, 2019, 11 am.

Image from PAGASA

On Thursday, December 5, rain will start gradually weakening in terms of intensity, frequency, and duration, except for areas in extreme Northern Luzon where occasional to frequent heavy rain may persist due to the tail-end of a cold front. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

PAGASA said it is coordinating with the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee for weather updates specifically for venues of the SEA Games events.

What are the potential hazards? PAGASA warned of possible flooding in low-lying areas in Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, and Metro Manila.

There may also be landslides in mountainous areas of Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Luzon, and Cagayan Valley.

"Hindi pa po included sa ngayon ang Cordillera dahil nasa taas [ito] (The Cordillera Administrative Region is not included for now since it's up north)," said PAGASA Hydrologist Richard Orendain.

PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Operations and Services Landrico Dalida Jr also said the strong winds from the typhoon could damage homes made of light materials and topple trees.

Power and communication lines might also be affected, according to Esperanza Cayanan, weather services chief of PAGASA's Weather Division.

"Lahat ng sektor kailangan maghanda.... Ngayon pa lang eh tignan na 'yung posibleng aksiyon na puwedeng gawin habang malayo pa [ang bagyo] (All sectors should prepare.... As early as now, look at the possible actions to take while the typhoon is still far away)," Cayanan added.

How about the effect on dams? Orendain said the estimated rainfall over the Angat Watershed is 200 to 300 millimeters.

This would mean that the Angat Dam's water level might increase by about 9 meters – a much-needed improvement since the dam's low water level has triggered supply shortages in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite in 2019.

Orendain also said the releasing of water from the Magat Dam is possible.

Kammuri or the potential Tisoy would be the Philippines' 20th tropical cyclone for 2019.

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually. In the earlier part of the year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones had been projected since 2019 is an El Niño year.

For the month of December, PAGASA is expecting 0 to 1 tropical cyclone.

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

Acor Arceo

Acor Arceo is the head of copy and editorial standards at Rappler. Trained in both online and TV newsrooms, Acor supervises Rappler’s coverage of disasters, handles the business desk, and ensures consistency in editorial standards across all sections.