Severe Tropical Storm Ineng slightly intensifies

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MANILA, Philippines – Severe Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) slightly intensified on its way to the southern Taiwan-Batanes area on Friday evening, August 23.

In a bulletin issued 11 pm on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ineng now has maximum winds of 100 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 95 km/h and gustiness of up to 125 km/h from the previous 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.

Ineng is already 260 kilometers east southeast of Basco, Batanes. It slightly slowed down and is now moving northwest at 20 km/h from the previous 25 km/h.

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 still unlikely to make landfall. It is expected to cross the Bashi Channel and will be closest to Batanes on Saturday morning, August 24. Strong winds are expected in areas under Signal Nos. 1 and 2.

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.

Saturday, August 24

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

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 pm 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.

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

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

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. –