Slow-moving 'Auring' may intensify into severe tropical storm before landfall -PAGASA

Tropical cyclone "Auring" (international name: Dujuan) may reach the severe tropical storm intensity while moving slowly off the eastern coast of Mindanao within 48 hours, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Thursday, Feb. 18.

During its 5 p.m. press briefing, PAGASA weather specialist Ariel Rojas said tropical storm Auring may still gather strength while over the sea east of Mindanao, and become a severe tropical storm prior to its landfall over Caraga region by Sunday, Feb. 21.

Auring has maintained its maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph, while moving northwest at 10 kph, on Thursday afternoon.

A tropical cyclone is classified as a severe tropical storm once it reaches maximum wind speed of 89 to 117 kph.

Rojas said Auring is still far from Mindanao, at 640 kilometers (km) east-southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, as of 4 p.m. Thursday.

However, he noted that PAGASA will likely raise tropical cyclone wind signal warnings over some parts of Visayas and Mindanao as early as Friday, Feb. 19, to allow the public, especially those that will be directly affected by Auring, to prepare.

A landfall is seen over Caraga region, particularly over Siargao-Dinagat Islands-Surigao del Norte areas, by Sunday morning, Rojas said.

After its landfall, he said Auring will move further northwest then traverse Visayas on its way to the West Philippine Sea by Monday evening, Feb. 22.

The trough or extension of storm Auring was already bringing light rains over Eastern Visayas, Caraga, and Davao region on Thursday.

Rojas warned of heavy rainfall over the weekend, which may last until Monday, in Visayas, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Masbate, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, and nearby areas.

Those in areas identified in hazard maps to be highly susceptible to flooding and rain-induced landslides must take the necessary precautions ahead of the storm's arrival, he advised.

Meanwhile, rains due to the northeast monsoon or "amihan" may affect Aurora, Quezon, Cagayan Valley, and Bicol Region.

Metro Manila, and the rest of Luzon and Visayas will have isolated light amihan rains, while the rest of Mindanao may experience isolated rain showers due to localized thunderstorms.

A gale warning remains in effect on Thursday due to strong gale force winds associated with the surge of amihan and tropical storm "Auring".

Rough to very rough seas may affect the northern, eastern, and western seaboards of Luzon, and eastern coasts of Visayas and Mindanao.

Fisherfolk and those using small boats were advised not to risk sailing into these areas, while large boats were asked to remain alert against big waves.