Tropical Storm Basyang slightly speeds up en route to Mindanao

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Basyang (Sanba) slightly accelerated late Monday afternoon, February 12, as it moved closer to Eastern Mindanao.

In a bulletin issued 5 pm on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Basyang is already 435 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, moving west northwest at 23 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 22 km/h.

The tropical storm continues to have maximum winds of 65 km/h and gustiness of up to 80 km/h. In a news briefing late Monday morning, PAGASA had said it is unlikely that Basyang would intensify further into a severe tropical storm.

Signal number 2 is now raised in:

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is up over:

PAGASA warned areas under signal number 1 and 2 to expect moderate to heavy rain within the next 24 hours. Residents should watch out for possible flash floods and landslides.

Basyang is expected to make landfall in Caraga on Tuesday morning or afternoon, February 13. After hitting land, it will cross Caraga as well as Northern Mindanao and Palawan.

"Expected kasi na pagtama bukas (Tuesday), siguro around before noon, doon pa lang magsisimula 'yung malalakas na ulan sa area, then within 24 hours after landfall, medyo delikado po 'yung area ng Northern Mindanao as well as 'yung Visayas, dahil po doon sa pagtahak niya... So ngayon pa lamang po sinasabihan na natin 'yung mga kababayan natin sa area na sana mag-ingat, maghanda," said PAGASA Assistant Weather Services chief Robert Sawi in the news briefing.

(We expect that when Basyang makes landfall around before noon tomorrow, that's when heavy rain will begin in the area, then within 24 hours after landfall, the areas of Northern Mindanao and the Visayas would face risks as the tropical storm crosses... So as early as now we are telling our countrymen to be careful, to prepare.)

Based on its latest forecast track, Basyang will leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday, February 15.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Basyang as of February 12, 5 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Basyang as of February 12, 5 pm.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

Sea travel is risky in areas under signal numbers 1 and 2, the seaboards of Northern Luzon, and the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Eastern Visayas due to Basyang and the surge of the northeast monsoon.

Hundreds of passengers have been stranded in the Visayas and Mindanao, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

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

The rest of the country, including Metro Manila, will only have localized thunderstorms. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

– Rappler.com