(Updated 5:00 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines–The state weather bureau on Sunday warned residents of Eastern Luzon against floods and landslides as Typhoon “Labuyo” has intensified slightly as it continued to move closer to Isabela-Aurora area.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) raised storm warning signal no. 3 in Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya, Mt. Province, Polilio Island, Quirino, Benguet, Ifugao, Nueva Ecija and Isabela.
“[Labuyo is the] strongest storm to make landfall so far this year,” bureau head Vicente Malano told reporters.
At 4:00 p.m. Sunday, the eye of “Labuyo” was located 130 kilometers North of Virac, Catanduanes or 220 km Southeast of Casiguran, Aurora (15.3°N, 124.3°E) with maximum sustained winds of 165 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 200 kph. It is forecast to move West Northwest at 19 kph.
The typhoon is expected to make landfall in the north-eastern agricultural province of Aurora early morning on Monday, he said, adding that heavy rains are likely to cover a larger area including the capital Manila.
Due to the typhoon signal in the National Capital Region, workers rolled down huge tarpaulins from outdoor advertising billboards along Edsa and major Metro Manila streets as a safety precaution.
Meanwhile, storm signal no. 2 was raised in the following areas:
Signal no. 1 was raised in Albay, Sorsogon, Rest of Quezon, Laguna, Calayan, Babuyan Group of Islands, Ilocos Norte, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas and Metro Manila.
“Labuyo,” moving west-northwest at 19 kilometers per hour, was forecast to dump up to 25 millimetres of rain an hour within a 600-kilometre diameter of the typhoon, Pagasa said.
The Philippines is hit by about 20 storms and typhoons each year, some of them devastating.
Nearly 2,000 were killed or went missing in flash floods and landslides when Typhoon “Pablo” cut across the southern island of Mindanao in December last year.
About 850,000 people were also displaced, and many of them remain in temporary shelters months after the typhoon.