Ramon downgraded to tropical storm

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MANILA, Philippines – Ramon (Kalmaegi) weakened further from a severe tropical storm into a tropical storm early Wednesday morning, November 20, as it continued crossing land.

In a bulletin issued 8 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ramon now has maximum winds of 85 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 100 km/h and gustiness of up to 140 km/h from the previous 165 km/h.

PAGASA earlier said Ramon would "significantly weaken" after making landfall, "due to land interaction and the northeast monsoon." It is likely to keep getting downgraded within 24 hours, until it is only a low pressure area.

Ramon had made landfall as a typhoon in Santa Ana, Cagayan, at 12:20 am on Wednesday.

The tropical storm is now in the vicinity of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. It slightly accelerated, now moving southwest at 15 km/h from the previous 10 km/h, though still relatively slow.

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)

Rain from Ramon will also persist throughout Wednesday. Though the tropical cyclone is weakening, residents must stay on alert, especially during periods of heavy rain.

Wednesday, November 20

Thousands of residents fled their homes ahead of Ramon's landfall, fearing possible flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Classes were suspended in some areas for Wednesday. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Wednesday, November 20, 2019)

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

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ramon (Kalmaegi) as of November 20, 2019, 8 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ramon (Kalmaegi) as of November 20, 2019, 8 am.

Image from PAGASA

Aside from Ramon, PAGASA is also monitoring Tropical Depression Sarah, the country's 19th tropical cyclone for 2019, and the 3rd for November.

Details of the latest forecast on Sarah, issued 5 am on Wednesday, can be found here.

Due to Ramon, Sarah, and the northeast monsoon, travel is risky in the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals; the seaboards of southern Isabela, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes; the western seaboards of Zambales, Bataan, Occidental Mindoro, and Palawan; and the northern seaboard of Camarines Sur.

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, but since 2019 is an El Niño year, only 14 to 18 tropical cyclones had been projected. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

With Sarah's arrival, the estimate has been exceeded for the year and also for the month of November.

These had been the projections for the last two months of 2019:

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