MANILA -- Typhoon Ompong, the strongest storm so far this year, gained speed Friday, on course to lash Luzon's northeastern tip, weather bureau PAGASA said.
Ompong (Mangkhut), packing maximum sustained winds of 205 kph with 255 kph gusts, was moving northwest at 25 kph, picking up from 20 kph early Friday, PAGASA said.
The eye of the storm may hit the Cagayan-Isabela area by 4 a.m., said ABS-CBN resident weather specialist Nilo Millanes and PAGASA weather specialist Gener Quitlong.
At 1 p.m. Friday, Ompong's eye was spotted at 470 km east of the surfing town of Baler, Aurora.
Storm surges up to 6 meters above mean sea level are possible in coastal areas where the storm will hit land first, PAGASA said.
More people were evacuated in Luzon Friday as authorities braced for floods, landslides and storm surges.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday deployed some Cabinet executives to Luzon areas on Ompong's path and assured the public that at least P1.7 billion in "quick response" funds were on standby.
The following Tropical Cyclone Warning Signals are hoisted over these areas:
SIGNAL NO. 3
- Cagayan including the Babuyan group of islands
- Ilocos Norte
- Ilocos Sur
- Mountain Province
- Northern Aurora
SIGNAL NO. 2
- La Union
- Nueva Ecija
- Southern Aurora
- Northern Zambales
SIGNAL NO. 1
- Southern Zambales
- Metro Manila
- Quezon including Polillo Island
- Northern Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
- Northern Oriental Mindoro
- Camarines Norte
- Camarines Sur
- Burias and Ticao Islands
- Northern Samar
The typhoon will enhance the habagat or southwest monsoon, bringing gusty winds with occasional moderate to heavy rains over Visayas, and scattered light to moderate to at times heavy rains over Palawan, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga, PAGASA said.
Residents in these areas, especially those living near river channels, in low-lying areas and in mountainous areas, are advised to take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslides and coordinate with local disaster risk reduction and management office.
Ompong is expected to exit the country by Sunday morning.
Visit the ABS-CBN Weather Center for the latest weather updates.