MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Hanna intensified into a typhoon on Wednesday morning as it crept closer to the country's northern tip, where a series of earthquakes last week flattened decades-old houses to the ground and left at least 9 dead, the state weather bureau said.
At 10 a.m., the typhoon was 630 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes, the country's northernmost province, packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour and 160 kph gusts, said PAGASA.
In Itbayat, Batanes' second most populous town, some 90 families who lost their homes to Saturday's quakes camped in the plaza. When the weather worsens, they would be transferred to 3 school buildings that were declared safe despite minor cracks from the earthquakes, disaster officials said.
PAGASA at 6 a.m. hoisted tropical cyclone signal 1 over Batanes and the Babuyan islands, which may be whipped by 30 to 60 kph winds in 36 hours.
Hanna is unlikely to hit land, but is enhancing the habagat or southwest moonsoon, said PAGASA weather specialist Chris Perez.
Moderate to heavy monsoon rains are expected to lash the northern portions of Palawan, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Zambales, Bataan, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras, he said.
Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, and Visayas will experience light to moderate rains.
Residents in all these areas should be on the lookout for possible floods and landslides, warned the weather bureau.
PAGASA weather specialist Ezra Bulquerin also urged fishermen and small sea craft to refrain from venturing off the seaboards of Luzon and Visayas, and northern and eastern Mindanao, where waves could swell from 2.8 to 4.5 meters high.
Last Saturday, at least 31 people were killed after 3 ferries sank off the central provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras due to bad weather.
Meanwhile, tropical storm Krosa, spotted 2,055 kilometers east of the country's northern tip, is unlikely to enter the Philippine area of responsibility, said Perez.
However, Krosa and Hanna will continue stirring monsoon rains in the next 3 to 5 days, he said.
A low pressure area 325 kilometers west of Dagupan, Pangasinan is unlikely to strengthen into a storm within 24 hours, he added.
Hanna is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility on Friday, Perez said.
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