Wutip weakens into tropical storm outside PAR

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MANILA, Philippines – Wutip weakened from a typhoon into a severe tropical storm and then a tropical storm on Thursday, February 28, as it continued moving toward the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

In a bulletin issued 11 am on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tropical Storm Wutip is already 1,540 kilometers east of Northern Luzon. It is moving west northwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).

Wutip's maximum winds are down to 80 km/h, while its gustiness decreased to 95 km/h.

PAGASA expects Wutip to enter PAR between Thursday evening and early Friday morning, March 1. When it enters, it will be given the local name Betty. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

The good news – it is projected to weaken further into a tropical depression, and then into a low pressure area.

It is also not seen to approach or hit land. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Wutip as of February 28, 2019, 11 am. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Wutip as of February 28, 2019, 11 am.

Image from PAGASA

So far, the Philippines has had one tropical cyclone in 2019 – Tropical Depression Amang.

The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year, but PAGASA expects only 14 to 18 in 2019. The number is likely to be below average as the state weather bureau is already in the El Niño Advisory stage, the last stage before declaring El Niño. (READ: PAGASA warns of 'full-blown' El Niño in 2019)

Below is the estimated number of tropical cyclones for the next 6 months:

Meanwhile, the country will have generally good weather on Thursday.

There will only be isolated light rains in Cagayan Valley, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, Aurora, and Quezon, due to the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan. But PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact." – Rappler.com