By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz and Marjaleen Ramos
Tropical cyclone wind signal No. 1 was hoisted over Batanes and Babuyan group of islands as cyclone “Hanna” (international name “Lekima”) intensified into a typhoon on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Hanna was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 170 kph.
The possibility of a landfall remains remote but Hanna’s outer cloud bands may bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains and gusty winds in Batanes and Babuyan group of islands, said PAGASA weather specialist Chris Perez.
The typhoon is moving 15 kph north-northwest and will likely leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Friday.
As Hanna generally moves north, Perez said the concentration of monsoon or “habagat” rains will gradually shift towards the western sections of Northern, Central, and Southern Luzon on Thursday.
Moderate to heavy monsoon rains may affect Metro Manila, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, and northern portions of Palawan, including Calamian and Cuyo Islands.
Meanwhile, light to moderate with at times heavy rains may prevail over Western Visayas and the rest of Luzon.
PAGASA weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio said Hanna may further intensify while it continues to draw fuel from the sea but will likely remain under the typhoon category.
The public should remain alert against possible flash floods and rain-induced landslides, Perez said.
Fisherfolk and those with small sea crafts should prevent from venturing out over the seaboards of areas under Signal No. 1, seaboards of Luzon and Visayas, and northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao due to big waves generated by Hanna and the southwest monsoon.
Aside from Hanna, PAGASA is also monitoring two weather disturbances near the country.
A severe tropical storm with international name “Krosa” was estimated 2,010 km east of extreme Northern Luzon with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph and gustiness of up to 115 kph. This weather disturbance is not expected to enter the PAR.
In addition, a low pressure area (LPA) is lingering off the West Philippine Sea or 325 km west of Dagupan City. It is less likely to develop into a tropical depression within 24 hours but Perez said they are not discounting the possibility that the LPA may intensify into a cyclone beyond the 24-hour monitoring period.
Perez said the combined effects of Hanna, Krosa, and the LPA will likely further boost the impact of habagat over the Philippines in the next three to five days.