MTSAT ENHANCED-IR Satellite Image 10:32 a.m., 31 January 2014. Image courtesy of PAGASA.
MANILA (UPDATE) – Tropical cyclone "Basyang" (international name Kajiki) has intensified into a storm, threatening areas recently battered by a string of weather disturbances.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that as of 10 a.m Friday, Basyang was spotted 500 kilometers east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
Basyang gained strength, now packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 80 kph. The storm is forecast to move west at 30 kph.
PAGASA said at this rate, Basyang will make landfall somewhere between Southern Leyte and the northern tip of Surigao del Norte area between late Friday evening and early Saturday morning.
Public storm warning signal number 2 has been hoisted over Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, Samar, Camotes Islands, Camiguin, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte , Siargao Is., northern Part of Surigao del Sur, northern Part of Agusan del Norte.
Meanwhile, areas under signal no. 1 are Masbate, Cuyo Island, Northern Samar, Biliran Island, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, the rest of Agusan del Norte, the rest of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, northern part of Bukidnon, and Zamboanga del Norte.
Areas under signal no. 2 should experience 60 to 100 kph winds in at least 24 hours, while areas under signal no. 1 should experience 30 to 60 kph winds in at least 36 hours.
Some areas under the storm signals, including Surigao and Agusan provinces, have yet to recover from the devastation brought by tropical depression "Agaton."
Agaton lingered in the Mindanao region for about two weeks, triggering floods and landslides that killed at least 70 people, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Counci (NDRRMC).
At a press conference, PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said the storm is likely to maintain its westward movement, as no high pressure area was seen to block its path.
The storm is also unlikely to shift towards the northern part of the country due to the presence of the northeast monsoon (amihan).
PAGASA said residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under signal nos. 1 and 2 should prepare for possible flash floods and landslides. Those living in coastal areas under signal no. 2 are also warned of possible storm surges.
An estimated rainfall amount of 5 to 15 millimeters per hour (moderate - heavy) is expected within the tropical storm's 400-km diameter.
Fishing boats and other small sea crafts are advised against venturing out into the eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon due to the surge of northeast monsoon.