MANILA, Philippines – The number of areas under Signal No. 3 rose to 12 early Friday afternoon, September 14, as Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) slightly accelerated while threatening the Cagayan-Isabela area.
In a bulletin released past 2 pm on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ompong is already 470 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, moving west northwest at a slightly faster 25 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 20 km/h.
The typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 205 km/h and gustiness of up to 255 km/h. Even if PAGASA does not yet classify Ompong as a super typhoon, it remains to be a powerful tropical cyclone with a huge diameter of 900 kilometers.
Below are the tropical cyclone warning signals in place.
Signal No. 3:
Signal No. 2:
Signal No. 1:
Stormy weather is expected in areas under Signal Nos. 2 and 3, while there will be occasional rains and gusty winds in areas under Signal No. 1. (READ: Duterte sends Cabinet members to Luzon provinces in Ompong's path)
Ompong is expected to make landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area early Saturday morning, September 15. Thousands of people have already evacuated in the two provinces. (READ: Will Typhoon Ompong be the same as Super Typhoon Lawin?)
PAGASA warned that serious floods and landslides are possible, while many trees could get uprooted and homes made of light materials may be damaged.
Storm surge-prone areas in Cagayan and Isabela may also experience storm surges up to 6 meters high – dangerous and potentially damaging. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Fishermen and others with small sea vessels are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signals, and in the eastern seaboards of the Visayas and Mindanao.
More than 4,800 passengers have been stranded in various ports. Dozens of domestic and international flights have also been canceled.
Class suspensions were also announced for the rest of the week. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions for September 13, 14, 15)
Based on its latest forecast track, Ompong might leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, September 16. It had entered PAR last Wednesday afternoon, September 12.
Image from PAGASA
The typhoon is also enhancing the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat. The enhanced southwest monsoon could trigger moderate to heavy rain in the Visayas, and light to heavy rain in Palawan, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga.
Residents of areas affected by the southwest monsoon should be on alert for flash floods and landslides, too.
Ompong is the Philippines' 15th tropical cyclone for 2018. The country usually gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018)
News you can use during Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut):