New storm brewing off Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines—The weather bureau has warned residents of southern Mindanao—which is not on the usual track of typhoons—to brace themselves for heavy rains in the next few days as a low pressure area approaching the region could turn into a tropical storm.
Forecaster Samuel Duran of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said they were monitoring an active low pressure area in the Pacific that had a “high chance” of becoming a cyclone.
“Two of three models are showing that,” he said, noting that the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean were fueling the low pressure area as it hurtles across the sea.
If the low pressure area consolidates and strengthens into a tropical cyclone, it would be named Ambo for being the first storm to enter the Philippine area of responsibility in 2012.
As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the low pressure area was located 790 kilometers east of southern Mindanao. So far, models show the low pressure area would hit Davao Oriental on Thursday and exit via the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Even if the weather disturbance does not turn into a cyclone, those regions are still warned to be prepared for concentrated rains, Duran said.
The low pressure area has a large cloud band. Pagasa is monitoring its wind strength and speed, the criteria for declaring it a tropical cyclone.
The forecaster said local government units and communities should be prepared for rains in the next few days.
The last storm to hit Mindanao was the destructive “Sendong” in December. Its rains triggered massive floods and landslides, killing over 1,000 people in northeastern Mindanao.
Disaster risk officials said the damage from Sendong was widespread because the areas were not usually struck by storms and thus were unprepared for the strong winds, heavy rains and floods.
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