MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Tropical storm “Lawin” continues to gain strength as it moves towards Samar and Bicol, the state weather bureau said on Friday.
Public storm signal number 1 remains hoisted over eastern Samar.
In its 11 p.m. bulletin, PAGASA said the storm is now packing winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.
Lawin is still moving slowly in a westward direction.
PAGASA said the storm was last spotted 500 kilometers east of Catarman, northern Samar.
Because the storm is still over water, there is a possibility that it may intensify into a typhoon by Saturday.
Rains and gusty winds should be expected over Samar provinces while moderate to heavy rains may prevail over Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and central Luzon.
The areas of Metro Manila, MIMAROPA, CALABARZON, Bicol region, and western Visayas and Mindanao, meanwhile, will have occasional light to moderate rains and thunderstorms.
The National Risk Reduction and Management Council raised a red alert status on Friday to prepare for the storm.