Vinta weakens into tropical depression over Zamboanga

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin) further weakened into a tropical depression late Friday afternoon, December 22, as it continued crossing Mindanao.

In a bulletin issued past 5 pm on Friday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Vinta is already in the vicinity of Sominot, Zamboanga del Sur, still moving west at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).

Vinta now has maximum winds of 60 km/h from the previous 65 km/h and gustiness of up to 90 km/h from the previous 110 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

It had made landfall in Cateel, Davao Oriental as a severe tropical storm at 1:45 am on Friday. (READ: Nearly 16,000 evacuate as Vinta hits Davao Oriental)

So far, at least 3 people have been reported dead while 6 others are missing in the wake of Vinta's onslaught.

As of 5 pm, there are no more areas under signal number 2.

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is raised over:

Though Vinta has weakened further, scattered to widespread rains will continue in the Visayas and Western Mindanao within the next 24 hours. PAGASA warned that these could trigger more flash floods and landslides.

Heavy flooding has already hit parts of Mindanao, including Lanao del Sur and Cagayan de Oro. (READ: #ReliefPH: Help victims of Vinta)

Sea travel also remains risky in areas under signal number 1. Thousands of passengers have been stranded due to Vinta. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

The tropical storm is still expected to cross the rest of the Zamboanga Peninsula, as well as southern Palawan.

It will then leave PAR on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Vinta as of December 22, 5 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Vinta as of December 22, 5 pm.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

Eastern Visayas is still reeling from the damage wrought by Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak), which battered the region as a tropical storm. National disaster management authorities said 45 people were killed and 46 others remain missing. Urduja left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) last Tuesday, December 19.

Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon will continue to bring scattered rain to Luzon, but PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact." – Rappler.com