LPA east of Mindanao intensifies into tropical depression, landfall over Caraga-Davao likely by weekend

Published February 17, 2021, 9:28 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The low pressure area (LPA) being monitored by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has developed into a tropical depression Wednesday, ahead of its expected entry into the country’s area of responsibility.

In its initial tropical cyclone advisory issued at 5 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, PAGASA estimated the location of the tropical depression at 1,070 kilometers east of Mindanao or still outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).

PAGASA said the weather disturbance is forecast to enter the PAR in the next 12 to 18 hours, and once inside, it will be named “Auring,” the first tropical cyclone of 2021. 

It has maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 55 kph. 

PAGASA said the tropical depression was moving west slowly.

As of Wednesday, the tropical depression is expected to move west to west-northwest over the Philippine Sea east of Mindanao, and will likely make landfall over the eastern coast of Caraga-Davao regions by Saturday or Sunday as a tropical storm.

It has no direct effect yet over any part of the country, however, Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Bicol region, Mimaropa, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, and Visayas, especially those situated in areas identified in hazard maps to be highly susceptible to these hazards, were advised to take appropriate preparatory measures due to increasing likelihood of heavy rains and gusty conditions associated with the potential passage of a tropical cyclone by weekend until Monday. 

Due to a possible landfall, PAGASA said it could raise tropical cyclone wind signals, which may result in the early disruption of maritime activities.

Meanwhile, the tail-end of frontal system will bring moderate to heavy rains over Eastern Visayas and light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Central Visayas, Dinagat Islands, Camiguin, and Surigao del Norte Wednesday. 

PAGASA warned of possible isolated flooding and rain-induced landslides due to heavy rainfall or prolonged periods of rainfall, especially in areas identified in hazard maps to be highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards. 

Adjacent or nearby areas may also experience flooding in the absence of such rainfall occurrence due to surface runoff or swelling of river channels.