By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Tropical depression “Dodong” was expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) Wednesday afternoon, but monsoon rains will persist over Metro Manila, and the western sections of Luzon and Visayas until Sunday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) estimated the location of Dodong at 750 kilometers (km) east-northeast of Basco, Batanes Wednesday afternoon. It has maintained its maximum winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 60 kph, but is moving faster at 30 kph north.
Even as Dodong exits, PAGASA weather specialist Benison Estareja said the southwest monsoon (habagat) will bring light to moderate monsoon rains with occasional heavy rains from localized thunderstorms until the weekend.
Should it maintain its current speed and track, Dodong will be outside the country’s area of responsibility between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Light to moderate monsoon rains was felt Wednesday in the northern part of Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque, Aklan, Antique, western portion of Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental), Masbate, and western sections of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon.
On Thursday, PAGASA weather specialist Ariel Rojas said monsoon rains will affect Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Occidental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, northern portion of Palawan, Aklan, Antique, western parts of Capiz and Iloilo, and Metro Manila.
By Friday, monsoon rains will prevail over Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite, western part of Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, and northern Palawan, he added.
By Saturday, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Metro Manila, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Apayao, Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Cavite, and western Batangas will experience monsoon rains.
Rojas advised residents in areas affected by habagat, especially those in high-risk areas from flooding and landslides to take extra precaution and coordinate with their respective local disaster risk reduction and management offices.
PAGASA is also monitoring a new low pressure area (LPA) located 435 kilometers west-northwest of Coron, Palawan around Wednesday afternoon.
Minimal rain for Angat
But rains will remain elusive for parched Angat Dam.
According to PAGASA-Weather Division chief Esperanza Cayanan, monsoon rains are concentrated on the western side of the country, which means that Angat Watershed located in the eastern portion of Bulacan may only receive minimal rains in the coming days.
As of Wednesday morning, Angat Dam’s water level was at 158.40 meters, down from 158.77 meters on Tuesday. Metro Manila’s main water source is also poised to fall below the 157.56-meter record low this weekend.
”The water level at Angat Dam may normalize by July or August, unless a cyclone will pass directly over the watershed and bring sufficient rain,” Cayanan said.
PAGASA is pinning its hopes on the arrival of another LPA east of Mindanao that could possibly help in the gradual recovery of the water level at Angat Dam.
“The new LPA, we hope, could possibly bring rains over the watershed next week. But the weather disturbance is still too far to make an exact projection,” Cayanan said.
The LPA was located 1,680 km east of Mindanao on Wednesday afternoon, Rojas said.
It has a slim chance of developing into a tropical depression within the next 24 to 48 hours, but may enter the PAR by Saturday, he added.
This Thursday, the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers due to thunderstorms.
PAGASA warned that rains, especially during severe thunderstorms, could trigger possible flash floods or landslides over low-lying and mountainous areas.