‘Usman’ getting stronger as it takes aim at Visayas
Tropical Depression “Usman” is expected to keep gaining strength and develop into a tropical storm on Thursday, before making landfall in Eastern Samar province on Friday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) on Wednesday warned people in the Visayas, the regions of Bicol, Calabarzon and Mimaropa, and the provinces of Aurora and Surigao del Norte to be alert for flooding and landslides until Saturday.
The waters off the eastern seaboards of southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao would be dangerous because of waves reaching 4.5 meters high, weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio said in Pagasa’s 5 p.m. bulletin on Wednesday.
Moderate to heavy rain is expected in these areas even before Usman’s landfall because “its clouds came first ahead of the eye” due to the effect of strong winds surrounding the tropical depression, Aurelio said.
As of press time on Wednesday, Usman was packing sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour and gusts of 65 kph.
Usman will be categorized as a tropical storm once its sustained winds exceed 62 kph.
As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Usman was 690 kilometers east-northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, moving northwestward at 15 kph.
Typhoon not expected
Storm warnings had not yet been raised, but if the forecast did not change, Pagasa was expected to raise Storm Signal No. 1 in Eastern Samar and northern Caraga by Wednesday night.
So far, Usman is not expected to intensify into a typhoon.
Aurelio said Usman was expected to weaken back into a tropical depression after crossing the northern parts of Leyte, Cebu and Panay islands before reaching Sulu Sea by Saturday afternoon.
Still, Usman may only reach the South China Sea on Sunday afternoon and exit the Philippine area of responsibility on the afternoon of Monday, New Year’s Eve.
It would be rainy in Luzon on Friday and Saturday because of the effects of the northeast monsoon (“amihan”) and the tail end of a cold front.
Light to moderate rain is forecast for Metro Manila, Bicol, Calabarzon and Mimapora regions beginning Friday evening.
Rain is also expected in Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley and Cordillera regions on Saturday.
Palawan province can also expect rain.