LPA begins bringing rain to parts of Mindanao

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MANILA, Philippines – The low pressure area (LPA) inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) began bringing rain to parts of Mindanao on Saturday afternoon, January 19.

In a press conference at 5:45 pm on Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the LPA is now 585 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

A yellow rainfall warning was issued at 6 pm on Saturday for Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Agusan del Norte, which are provinces in the region of Caraga. This means heavy rain is expected within the next 3 hours. Floods are possible in low-lying areas and near rivers.

Moderate to heavy rain is also expected in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Camiguin, and Misamis Oriental on Saturday evening.

For the next two days, here's what to expect in terms of rainfall, according to PAGASA:

Residents of regions and provinces to be affected by the LPA should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides, especially if they live in low-lying communities, near rivers, or in mountainous areas.

The LPA might also become a tropical depression in the next 24 hours. If it does, it would become the Philippines' first tropical cyclone for 2019 and would be given the local name Amang. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

The potential Amang's landfall could be in Surigao del Norte on Sunday afternoon or evening.

After hitting land, it might return to being an LPA by early Monday morning, but would still bring hazards.

PAGASA earlier emphasized that weather disturbances such as LPAs and tropical depressions can still trigger heavy rain, so officials and residents should watch out for flash floods and landslides.

PAGASA Weather Division chief Esperanza Cayanan also warned in Saturday's press conference that if the LPA interacts with the tail-end of a cold front, this would lead to the formation of more clouds, which in turn would bring even more rain.

A cold front forms when an advancing cold air mass displaces warmer air in its path, causing the displaced warm air to rise, which then leads to the formation of clouds and precipitation.

Cayanan urged local officials to check their hazard maps and give residents appropriate warnings.

"Dapat alam nila...alin 'yung mga area na talagang identified na flood-prone at landslide-prone.... Basta nando'n sa listahan ng MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) na high risk of floods and landslides, mag-ingat na po tayo.... Ang lagi po naming sinasabi, this is an advanced warning based on forecast rainfall na 24-hour," she said.

(They should know which areas are identified as flood-prone and landslide-prone. If they're in the list of the MGB stating that they're at high risk of floods and landslides, they should take precautions. What we always say is that this is an advanced warning based on 24-hour forecast rainfall.)

Sea travel is also risky in the northern seaboard of Luzon and in the eastern seaboard of the Philippines. This is due to the combined effects of the approaching LPA and the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan.

The Philippines gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. The forecast for January is zero to one tropical cyclone. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories– Rappler.com