Tropical Storm Ineng strengthens further, enhances monsoon

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) strengthened further and slightly accelerated on Thursday evening, August 22, as it continued to enhance the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat.

In a briefing past 11 pm on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ineng now has maximum winds of 85 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 75 km/h and gustiness of up to 105 km/h from the previous 90 km/h.

It is poised to become a severe tropical storm within hours. A severe tropical storm has maximum winds of at least 89 km/h.

Ineng is already 585 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora. It is now moving west northwest at 15 km/h from the previous 10 km/h.

Signal No. 1 remains raised in the following areas:

Signal No. 1 means winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h. Tropical cyclone wind signals are issued based on wind and not on rainfall.

Ineng remains unlikely to make landfall, but it is enhancing the southwest monsoon, which is another source of rain.

Below is the latest list of areas seen to experience rain from Ineng and the southwest monsoon on Friday, August 23.

Moderate to heavy rain due to Ineng

Light to heavy rain due to the southwest monsoon

PAGASA warned that flash floods and landslides are possible in areas affected by either Ineng or the southwest monsoon. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

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

Sea travel is also risky in the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and the Visayas.

A gale warning was issued at 5 pm on Thursday 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 the Philippine Area of Responsibility either on Saturday evening, August 24, or Sunday morning, August 25.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) as of August 22, 2019, 11 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) as of August 22, 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. –