MANILA — The rainy season has started, the state weather bureau said Friday as tropical depression Butchoy dumped rains over parts of the country, including sites for Independence Day protests.
Butchoy and the southwest monsoon or habagat recently brought "significant amounts of rain" in the western sections of Luzon and Visayas, which "satisfied the criteria of the start of the rainy season," PAGASA said in a statement.
This will bring "scattered to widespread rains and thunderstorms" that may be interrupted by dry periods or monsoon breaks for several days up to 2 weeks, said the weather agency.
Butchoy made 2 landfalls in Quezon province on Thursday night and was spotted 40 km west northwest of Iba, Zambales at 10 a.m. Friday. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) and 70 kph gusts, said PAGASA.
The second storm of 2020 will dump moderate to heavy rains over zambales, Bataan, Pangasinan, the northern portion of Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands, and Occidental Mindoro.
Metro Manila, Western Visayas, and the rest of Luzon will experience light to moderate with at times heavy monsoon rains.
These areas should be on the lookout for possible floods and landslides, said PAGASA. The agency has lifted wind signals in all parts of the country.
In Metro Manila, protesters braved a light downpour to call for the scrapping of an anti-terror bill pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte. They brought food and roses in reference to a recent mañanita or birthday serenade for the region's police chief, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, which allegedly violated lockdown protocols.
Butchoy will leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Saturday morning, PAGASA said.
The storm trudged through Luzon as authorities examined whether or not the lockdown of Metro Manila, the epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, could be downgraded further on June 16.
Metro Manila and other urban centers were placed under GCQ or general community quarantine on June 1 after 11 weeks under a stricter ECQ or enhanced community quarantine. The quarantine classifications will expire on June 15.
Typhoon Ambo tested the country's coronavirus protocols in May when tens of thousands fled their homes and were required to observe social distancing in shelters.