MANILA - Typhoon Mangkhut has intensified further as it continues to move nearer to the Philippine area of responsibility, the state weather bureau said Tuesday.
In its 11:00 a.m. advisory, PAGASA said the typhoon, which will be named Ompong once it enters PAR on Wednesday afternoon, now packs 170 kph winds near the center and gusts of up to 210 kph.
It was last located at 1,845 kilometers east of southern Luzon, and was moving west at the speed of 25 kph.
PAGASA said the typhoon threatens Northern Luzon and may traverse the Cagayan - Batanes area on Saturday but cyclone warning signals may be raised as early as tomorrow.
The typhoon may strengthen the southwest monsoon (habagat), which will be bringing moderate rains and thunderstorms over the Zamboanga Peninsula, Western Visayas and Palawan on Thursday.
PAGASA categorizes a weather system with top sustained winds of 220 kph as a super typhoon, but Mangkhut can carry winds of up to 250 kph as it approaches extreme northern Luzon and before it leave the Philippine area, said ABS-CBN weather specialist Nilo Millanes.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday morning already raised the highest alert in a 3-step system as Mangkhut continues towards PAR.
Under the red alert, all concerned agencies are tasked to prepare for typhoon and send representatives to the NDRRMC headquarters, said its spokesperson Edgar Posadas.