'Kiko' nears super typhoon category -- PAGASA


Typhoon "Kiko" (international name "Chanthu") has maintained its strength but is "near the super typhoon category threshold," said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in its 8 p.m. bulletin on Friday, Sept. 10.

"The likelihood that this typhoon will reach super typhoon category is not ruled out," PAGASA pointed out.

A tropical cyclone is classified by PAGASA as a super typhoon once its maximum wind speed exceeds 220 kph.

In the latest bulletin, Kiko has maintained its maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 265 kph while moving north-northwest at 15 kph.

The center of the eye of the typhoon was located 190 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan, or 175 km east-southeast of Calayan, Cagayan at around 7 p.m.

As Kiko moved closer to the extreme northern Luzon, tropical cyclone wind signal number 4 has been hoisted over the northeastern portion of Babuyan Islands and southern portion of Batanes.

Signal No. 3 was also raised over the extreme northeastern portion of Cagayan, the rest of Babuyan Islands, and the rest of Batanes, while Signal No. 2 was up in the northern, central, and eastern portions of mainland Cagayan, northeastern portion of Isabela, and northeastern portion of Apayao.

Meanwhile, Signal No. 1 was in effect in the rest of mainland Cagayan, eastern portion of Ilocos Norte, the rest of Apayao, northern portion of Kalinga, eastern portion of Mountain Province, northeastern portion of Abra, northwestern and southeastern portions of Isabela, and northern portion of Aurora.

Flood, landslide warnings up

PAGASA said that heavy to intense with at times torrential rains may prevail over the northeastern portion of Cagayan including Babuyan Islands and Batanes in the next 24 hours.

Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains may also affect northern and central Aurora, northern Isabela, the rest of Cagayan, Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and the rest of Cagayan Valley.

PAGASA warned against possible scattered to widespread flooding including flash floods and rain-induced landslides in these areas, especially those that are highly susceptible to these hazards.

In the next 24 hours, typhoon Kiko may also continue to enhance the southwest monsoon or "habagat" and bring rains over the western section of Southern Luzon and Western Visayas.

Likewise, Kiko may bring typhoon-force winds in areas under Signals 4 and 3, and gale-force to storm-force winds may occur in areas under Signal No. 2.

"A moderate risk of storm surge reaching 1.0 to 2.0 m in height may occur in the next 24 hours. Rising seawater along with the high waves from the shoreline moving inland may cause flooding in the low-lying coastal localities of Batanes, Cagayan including Babuyan Islands, and Isabela," PAGASA warned.

Kiko's intensity and track outlook

PAGASA said Kiko may continue to move over the coastal waters of northeastern Cagayan Friday evening.

Afterward, the typhoon may pass over the coastal waters of Babuyan Islands and cross the vicinity of Batanes Friday evening until Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11.

"After passing in the vicinity of extreme northern Luzon, Kiko is forecast to move northward for the remainder of tomorrow (Sept. 11) through Sunday afternoon (Sept. 12) and may pass within the coastal waters of Taiwan," PAGASA said.

Should it maintain its current speed and direction, Kiko will likely exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Sunday evening or early Monday morning, Sept. 13.