LPA east of PH now cyclone ‘Pepito, to hit Northern, Central Luzon

Published October 19, 2020, 8:06 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The low pressure area (LPA) east of the country has developed into a tropical depression on Monday and was named “Pepito,” the 16th tropical cyclone to form inside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) this year and the third in October.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) estimated the location of tropical depression “Pepito” at 820 kilometers (km) east of Virac, Catanduanes at around 4 a.m.

PAGASA said the cyclone is seen to move west-northwest or northwest on Monday, then turn more west on Tuesday while heading towards the Northern Luzon-Central Luzon area.

“Pepito” will likely make landfall over the eastern portion of Northern Luzon-Central Luzon between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and may re-emerge over the West Philippine Sea by Wednesday afternoon or evening.

It will likely remain a tropical depression over the next 36 hours and may hit land as a tropical depression or a weak tropical storm, PAGASA said. So far, it has maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 55 kph.

After crossing the landmass of Luzon, Pepito is seen to further intensify over the West Philippine Sea and may reach a severe tropical storm category by Friday.

Due to the advancing clouds of the cyclone, light to moderate with at times heavy rains may begin to be felt over Quezon, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Masbate, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Northern Samar, West Samar, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and Sarangani on Monday.

PAGASA warned of possible flooding or rain-induced landslides during heavy or prolonged rainfall especially in areas that are highly susceptible to these hazards.

No tropical cyclone wind signal is currently in effect. However, the northeasterly surface windflow partly enhanced by tropical depression “Pepito” may bring strong-force to near gale-force winds with occasional wind gusts over Batanes, Babuyan Islands, and the coastal and mountainous areas of northern Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar.

Meanwhile, a gale warning is in effect over the seaboards of Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Isabela due to rough to very rough seas with waves reaching up to 2.8 to 4.5 meters.

Sea travel is risky over these areas, especially for those using small boats, PAGASA warned.

Moderate to rough seas with waves that may reach 1.5 to 3 meters will be experienced in the next 24 hours over the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon and Bicol Region and the seaboards of Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

PAGASA advised those using small boats to take necessary precautionary measures while venturing out to sea.

The weather bureau said “Pepito” will be 600 km east of Casiguran, Aurora by Tuesday morning; in the vicinity of Jones, Isabela by Wednesday morning; and at 255 km west of Dagupan City, Pangasinan by Thursday morning.