Tropical Storm Ineng slows down, maintains strength

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MANILA, Philippines – Luzon and the Visayas will have a rainy Thursday, August 22, due to the outer rainbands of Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) and the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat.

In a briefing at 5 am on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ineng is already 840 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora.

It slowed down and is now moving west northwest at 15 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 25 km/h.

The tropical storm maintained its strength, with maximum winds of 65 km/h and gustiness of up to 80 km/h. But it could intensify into a severe tropical storm while inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

There are no tropical cyclone wind signals raised at the moment, since Ineng remains far from land. It is also unlikely to make landfall.

But the outer rainbands of the tropical storm, plus the southwest monsoon, will cause rain on Thursday. Below are the affected areas.

Scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Ineng's outer rainbands

Moderate to heavy rain due to the southwest monsoon

Light to heavy rain due to the southwest monsoon

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

At least one area has suspended classes for Thursday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Thursday, August 22, 2019)

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

A gale warning was issued at 5 am 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 PAR either on Saturday evening, August 24, or Sunday morning, August 25.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) as of August 22, 2019, 5 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ineng (Bailu) as of August 22, 2019, 5 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. –