Typhoon Maria maintains strength; monsoon to bring rain on July 8

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Maria maintained its strength outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday afternoon, July 7. It will be given the local name Gardo once it enters PAR.

Maria or the potential Gardo is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines, but state weather bureau PAGASA warned that it would enhance the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat.

In a bulletin issued 4 pm on Saturday, PAGASA said Maria is already 1,960 kilometers east of Central Luzon, moving north northwest at 15 kilometers per hour (km/h). Since it's still outside PAR, it has no effect on the country yet – even indirect.

The typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 185 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 225 km/h.

If Maria's speed and direction do not change, it could enter PAR on Monday morning, July 9. It would then stay inside PAR for just a day, as it is projected to exit on Tuesday morning, July 10.

Given that Maria or Gardo is not expected to make landfall, tropical cyclone warning signals will not be raised even if it enters PAR. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

What would directly bring rain is the southwest monsoon, to be enhanced by the typhoon.

PAGASA warned that the southwest monsoon will bring rain to the regions of Metro Manila, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, and Western Visayas, as well as the provinces of Bataan, Zambales, Batangas, and Cavite on Sunday, July 8.

Residents of those regions and provinces to be affected by the southwest monsoon, especially those in low-lying and in mountainous areas, should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

The rest of the country, meanwhile, will have isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms on Sunday. Flash floods and landslides are possible, too.

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