Severe Tropical Storm Ineng speeds up, strong winds loom

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MANILA, Philippines – Severe Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) accelerated again and maintained its strength on Friday morning, August 23, with several areas remaining under tropical cyclone wind signals.

In a briefing past 11 am on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ineng is already 500 kilometers east northeast of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, or 510 kilometers east of Calayan, Cagayan.

It is now moving north northwest at a slightly faster 25 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 20 km/h.

Ineng continues to have maximum winds of 95 km/h and gustiness of up to 115 km/h.

It is expected to maintain its severe tropical storm status for the rest of its stay inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). It is unlikely to become a typhoon.

The following tropical cyclone wind signals remain raised:

Signal No. 2 (winds of 61 km/h to 120 km/h)

Signal No. 1 (winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h)

Ineng is unlikely to make landfall, but areas under Signal Nos. 1 and 2 were advised to watch out for strong winds triggered by the severe tropical storm.

Ineng is also enhancing the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat, which is another source of rain.

Below is the latest list of areas affected by rain from Ineng and/or the southwest monsoon.

Friday, August 23

Saturday, August 24

Residents of those areas must stay on alert for possible flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

At least one area suspended classes for Friday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Friday, August 23, 2019)

Travel is also risky in the seaboards of areas under Signal Nos. 1 and 2, as well as in the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and the Visayas.

A gale warning was issued at 5 am on Friday due to Ineng. PAGASA warned of rough to very rough seas with wave heights reaching 2.8 meters to 4.5 meters in the following areas:

PAGASA said fishing boats and other small vessels should not set sail, while larger vessels must watch out for big waves.

Based on its latest forecast track, Ineng will leave PAR on Saturday evening, August 24.

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) as of August 23, 2019, 11 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) as of August 23, 2019, 11 am.

Image from PAGASA

Ineng is the Philippines' 9th tropical cyclone for 2019 and the 2nd for August. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, but since 2019 is an El Niño year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones are expected.

Below is the estimated number of tropical cyclones from August to December:

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. – Rappler.com