Typhoon Gardo maintains strength, enhances monsoon

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Gardo (Maria) maintained its strength on Monday evening, July 9, as it continued to move over the northern part of the Philippine Sea.

In a bulletin issued 11 pm on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Gardo is located 860 kilometers east 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 185 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 225 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.

Occasional rains from the enhanced southwest monsoon are expected in Mimaropa and Western Visayas within the next 48 hours, or until Wednesday, July 11.

Scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms will also hit Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Bicol, Zambales, Bataan, and Aurora on Tuesday, July 10.

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

The effects of the southwest monsoon had been subdued on Monday, as PAGASA earlier explained, because a low pressure area (LPA) in the West Philippine Sea affected Gardo's enhancement of the hanging habagat.

That meant less rain than expected on Monday, but it is best to stay on alert in case the enhanced southwest monsoon becomes more pronounced in the next couple of days.

Class suspensions for Tuesday can be found here.

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 the Philippine Area of Responsibility (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 9, 2018, 11 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Typhoon Gardo (Maria) as of July 9, 2018, 11 pm.

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