Vinta strengthens again over Sulu Sea

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Vinta (Tembin) reintensified into a tropical storm shortly past midnight on Saturday, December 23, then strengthened again further before dawn as it moved over the Sulu Sea.

In a bulletin issued 5 am on Saturday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Vinta now has maximum winds of 75 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 90 km/h.

The tropical storm is already 165 kilometers northwest of Zamboanga City, still moving west at 20 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Its final stop in the Philippines is southern Palawan, which is now under signal number 2.

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is raised over:

Moderate to heavy rain is expected in Palawan, while light to heavy rain is expected in Bicol, the Visayas, Mindanao, and the rest of Mimaropa within the next 24 hours. PAGASA warned that these could trigger more flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Sea travel also remains risky in areas under signal numbers 1 and 2, the southern seaboard of the Mindoro provinces, and the western seaboard of Aklan and Antique. Thousands of passengers have been stranded due to Vinta.

Vinta had made landfall in Cateel, Davao Oriental as a severe tropical storm at 1:45 am on Friday, December 22. (READ: Nearly 16,000 evacuate as Vinta hits Davao Oriental)

In Lanao del Sur, 7 people have been reported dead and 4 others are missing, according to provincial authorities. Lanao del Sur and Cagayan de Oro are among the areas that experienced heavy flooding.

Hundreds of residents also evacuated in Davao City on Friday night after a river overflowed. (READ: #ReliefPH: Help victims of Vinta)

Vinta is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Vinta as of December 23, 5 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Vinta as of December 23, 5 am.

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 PAR last Tuesday, December 19.

Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon will continue to bring scattered rain to Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera, as well as the provinces of Aurora and Quezon, but PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact." –