Ramon strengthens into severe tropical storm ahead of landfall

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MANILA, Philippines – Ramon (Kalmaegi) intensified from a tropical storm into a severe tropical storm on Monday afternoon, November 18, as it continued to pose a threat to the northern part of Cagayan.

In a bulletin issued 5 pm on Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Severe Tropical Storm Ramon now has maximum winds of 100 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 85 km/h and gustiness of up to 125 km/h from the previous 105 km/h.

The severe tropical storm is already 125 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan. But it slightly slowed down, now moving north northwest at 10 km/h from the previous 15 km/h.

Ramon is expected to make landfall in the northern part of Cagayan between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, November 19.

The following areas remain under tropical cyclone wind signals:

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

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

Areas affected by Ramon will also continue to experience rain, which might trigger flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Monday evening, November 18

Tuesday, November 19

At least one area has suspended classes for Tuesday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Tuesday, November 19, 2019)

Travel also remains risky, especially for small vessels, in the seaboards of areas under Signal Nos. 1 and 2, the western seaboard of Northern Luzon, and the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon.

Ramon could leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday morning, November 21. By then, it would likely already be downgraded to a low pressure area (LPA).

Ramon is the Philippines' 18th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 2nd for November.

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Ramon (Kalmaegi) as of November 18, 2019, 5 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Ramon (Kalmaegi) as of November 18, 2019, 5 pm.

Image from PAGASA

Meanwhile, the LPA outside PAR is now 1,320 kilometers east of Eastern Visayas. It is expected to enter within 24 hours.

If it becomes a tropical depression and enters PAR, it would be given the local name Sarah. (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 for the last two months of 2019:

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