Tropical Depression Agaton heads for Palawan

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Agaton slightly accelerated over the Sulu Sea late Tuesday morning, January 2, as it headed for Palawan after making landfall in the country 5 times.

In a bulletin issued 11 am on Tuesday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Agaton is already 170 kilometers west of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, now moving west at 28 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 25 km/h.

The tropical depression continues to have maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 90 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

It had made landfall in the following areas on Tuesday:

A 6th landfall is expected in Palawan within the day.

There are now fewer areas left under signal number 1:

PAGASA warned residents of areas under signal number 1 as well as those in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Panay Island, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, and Occidental Mindoro to stay on alert for possible flash floods and landslides. (IN PHOTOS: Flood greets Biliran residents on first day of 2018)

Sea travel is risky in areas under signal number 1 and in the seaboards of Northern Luzon and Southern Luzon, eastern seaboard of Central Luzon, eastern and western seaboards of the Visayas, and eastern seaboard of Mindanao due to the surge of the northeast monsoon and Agaton.

More than 3,000 passengers have been stranded at various ports, most of them in Northern Mindanao and Central Visayas, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Based on its latest forecast track, Agaton will leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday afternoon, January 3. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Agaton as of January 2, 11 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Agaton as of January 2, 11 am.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

Mindanao is still reeling from Typhoon Vinta (Tembin), which hit land just a few days before Christmas 2017 as a severe tropical storm. It left at least 240 people dead.

Vinta also came on the heels of Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-tak), which battered  Eastern Visayas and killed 47 people. Urduja also left P2.172 billion in damage to agriculture and infrastructure. –