'Kiko' intensifies into a typhoon; heavy rains likely over parts of northern Luzon towards weekend -- PAGASA


Severe tropical storm "Kiko" (international name "Chanthu") has intensified into a typhoon on Tuesday evening, Sept. 7, just hours after entering the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).

In its 11 p.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Kiko was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph while moving west-northwest at 20 kph.

The center of the eye of the typhoon was estimated at 1,300 kilometers (km) east of Central Luzon at around 10 p.m.

PAGASA warned that heavy rains associated with Kiko may begin affecting extreme northern Luzon by Friday, Sept. 10.

Based on Kiko's current track and intensity forecast, PAGASA said that there is "moderate to high likelihood" that tropical cyclone wind signals will be hoisted over several provinces in Northern Luzon, "with higher wind signal levels possible over extreme Northern Luzon."

"These wind signals may be hoisted for these localities beginning tomorrow evening (Sept. 8) or on Thursday morning (Sept. 9). The highest possible wind signal that may be hoisted for this tropical cyclone is Signal No. 3 or 4," PAGASA said.

"The public and disaster managers, especially those in localities of extreme northern Luzon are advised to monitor for updates in the coming days regarding the potential for coastal inundation due to the approaching typhoon," it added.

PAGASA said that Kiko may move west or west-northwest until Friday towards Luzon Strait and extreme Northern Luzon area.

Afterward, the typhoon will likely turn northwestward and pass close to the southern coast of Taiwan on Saturday, Sept. 11, before making landfall in the vicinity of southeastern China on Sunday evening, Sept. 12, or Monday morning, Sept. 13.

"Due to favorable environmental conditions, the typhoon is expected to continuously intensify until Friday, when it is likely to reach its peak intensity of 165 to 185 kph while moving over extreme Northern Luzon. Weakening is possible beginning late Saturday as it moves closer to Taiwan and interacts with its rugged terrain," PAGASA said.