Typhoon Gardo enhances monsoon, heads for Taiwan

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Gardo (Maria) maintained its strength while enhancing the southwest monsoon on Tuesday morning, July 10. It also began to make its way to the northern part of Taiwan.

In a bulletin issued 11 am on Tuesday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Gardo is already 635 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes, still moving west northwest at a relatively fast 30 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 170 km/h and gustiness of up to 210 km/h.

Gardo is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines, so tropical cyclone warning signals will not be raised in any area.

But PAGASA warned that the typhoon is enhancing the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat, which is affecting Luzon and the Visayas.

The hanging habagat is bringing monsoon rains to Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, northern Palawan, and Romblon.

Occasional rains will also hit Metro Manila, Western Visayas, the rest of Central Luzon, and the rest of Southern Luzon.

Residents of areas affected by the southwest monsoon should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides, especially in low-lying or in mountainous areas. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

The rains could continue until Wednesday, July 11, since Gardo will still enhance the southwest monsoon even if it is already near Taiwan by then.

Taiwan is still within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), an area set by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for PAGASA to monitor, as weather disturbances here directly or indirectly affect the Philippines.

Several areas have suspended classes for Tuesday due to the monsoon rains. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions, Tuesday, July 10)

PAGASA also warned that sea travel remains risky in the northern and eastern seaboards of Northern Luzon.

Based on its latest forecast track, Gardo will leave PAR either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. Its exit could happen as early as Tuesday evening due to its relatively fast speed. (READ: PAGASA: Typhoon Gardo different from Yolanda)

Forecast track of Typhoon Gardo (Maria) as of July 10, 2018, 11 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Typhoon Gardo (Maria) as of July 10, 2018, 11 am.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

Gardo is the Philippines' 7th tropical cyclone for 2018. The country usually gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018)

PAGASA weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio said in a briefing late Tuesday morning that they are also monitoring a cluster of clouds east of Mindanao, which could develop into a low pressure area (LPA) and then possibly a tropical cyclone. Further updates would be given on this cloud cluster if it does become a weather disturbance.

PAGASA had declared the start of the rainy season last June 8. – Rappler.com