PAGASA warns of monsoon rain in parts of Luzon, Visayas on July 7

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MANILA, Philippines – The southwest monsoon will bring rain to parts of Luzon and the Visayas on Saturday, July 7, warned state weather bureau PAGASA. It'll also be later on enhanced by Typhoon Maria, which has grown even stronger outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

In a bulletin issued 4 pm on Friday, July 6, PAGASA warned Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, Bataan, Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, and Western Visayas that they would have light to heavy rain on Saturday due to the southwest monsoon. These areas should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

The rest of the country, which won't be affected by the southwest monsoon, will have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms. Flash floods and landslides are possible, too. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Meanwhile, Typhoon Maria strengthened further while outside PAR. It now has maximum winds of 185 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 165 km/h and gustiness of up to 225 km/h from the previous 205 km/h.

The typhoon is already 2,060 kilometers east of Central Luzon, still moving north northwest at 15 km/h. Since it remains outside PAR, it has no effect on the country yet.

If Maria's speed and direction do not change, it could enter PAR on Monday morning or afternoon, July 9. It will be given the local name Gardo.

Maria or the potential Gardo is unlikely to make landfall in the Philippines, but PAGASA warned that it is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon.

PAGASA had declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com