‘Kammuri’ continues to gather strength, but has slim chance of becoming super typhoon -- PAGASA

By Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Typhoon "Kammuri" continued to gather strength ahead of its expected entry to the country this weekend but the weather state bureau said it still has a slim chance to develop into a super typhoon category.


As of Friday morning, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Kammuri was still outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), and still has no direct effect on the country for now.

Kammuri was last spotted off 1,470 kilometers east of Southern Luzon, and now packs a maximum wind strength of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 170 kilometers per hour while moving slowly northwestward.

The typhoon is expected to enter the PAR between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and will be given the local name "Tisoy", the 20th tropical cyclone to hit the country this year.

Expected storm warning signals

Following Kammuri's anticipated entry, PAGASA weather specialist Chris Perez said tropical cyclone wind signal no. 1 may be raised over the eastern portion of the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas area on Sunday.

More areas will be placed under storm warning signals once Kammuri barrels closer to the landmass, Perez added.

"We are looking up to tropical cyclone wind signal numbers 3 and 4 as the highest during the course of this particular tropical cyclone," Perez said in a press briefing at the PAGASA office on Friday.

The tropical cyclone threatens to bring heavy rains and thunderstorms beginning Monday over large swaths of the country including venues of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, as well as over Bicol region and Samar provinces.

Strong winds and heavy to intense rains may pour over Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Southern Luzon, and Metro Manila from Tuesday to Wednesday, PAGASA added.

'Not yet super typhoon'

While Kammuri's strength is expected to intensify throughout the forecast period, PAGASA said it is still less likely to develop into a super typhoon as of now, but the possibility is not being ruled out.

In a statement issued Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) allayed fears that Kamuri will be hitting the country as a super typhoon as predicted by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

According to PAGASA Weather Division Chief Dr. Esperanza Cayanan, maximum sustained winds (MSW) from the JTWC of the United States are generally higher compared to the agency and other major meteorological centers as it uses one minute as wind averaging period for the estimation of MSW near the center.

"PAGASA and other meteorological centers in the Western North Pacific use the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) recommended 10-minute averaging period. Shorter wind averaging periods yield higher wind estimates compared to longer averaging period," Cayanan explained.

Cayanan added that meteorological centers use different thresholds for classifying tropical cyclones as super typhoon.

"Since May 2015, PAGASA classifies a tropical cyclone as super typhoon when 10-minute MSW exceeds 220 kilometers.While JTWC’s super typhoon, when converted from 1 to 10-minute averaging, has MSW exceeding 185 kilometers per hour," she said.

This means that on a 10-minute averaging, JTWC has a lower threshold for classifying super typhoon than PAGASA.

"Based on latest available data, Kammuri is less likely to reach super typhoon category at this time, but this scenario is not yet ruled out as the typhoon is forecast to steadily intensify before making landfall in Southern Luzon," Cayanan clarified.

The Weather Division head encouraged the public to monitor legitimate information only through PAGASA's official website and social media accounts and remain vigilant against unofficial information from unverified sources to prevent unwanted panic.