MANILA, Philippines – Signal No. 4 was raised in Cagayan and the northern part of Isabela late Friday afternoon, September 14, as Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) slightly accelerated and moved closer to the two provinces.
In a bulletin issued 5 pm on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ompong is already 340 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, moving northwest at a slightly faster 30 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 25 km/h.
The typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 205 km/h and gustiness of up to 255 km/h. Even if PAGASA does not yet classify Ompong as a super typhoon, it remains to be a powerful tropical cyclone with a huge diameter of 900 kilometers.
Ompong is expected to make landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area on Saturday, September 15, possibly between 1 am and 3 am. Thousands of people have already evacuated in the two provinces. (READ: Will Typhoon Ompong be the same as Super Typhoon Lawin?)
Below are the tropical cyclone warning signals in place.
Signal No. 4:
Signal No. 3:
Signal No. 2:
Signal No. 1:
Stormy weather is expected in areas under Signal Nos. 2, 3, and 4, while there will be occasional rains and gusty winds in areas under Signal No. 1. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council estimated that at least 5.2 million people are in the path of the typhoon.
PAGASA warned that serious floods and landslides are possible, while many trees could get uprooted and homes made of light materials may be damaged.
Storm surge-prone areas in Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur may also experience storm surges up to 6 meters high – dangerous and potentially damaging. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Fishermen and others with small sea vessels are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signals, and in the seaboards of the Visayas and Mindanao.
More than 4,800 passengers have been stranded in various ports. Dozens of domestic and international flights have been canceled.
Class suspensions were also announced for the rest of the week. (READ: #WalangPasok: Class suspensions for September 13, 14, 15)
Based on its latest forecast track, Ompong might leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday afternoon or evening. This is earlier than initially projected since Ompong sped up, but the time of exit could still change if it slows down.
Image from PAGASA
The typhoon is also enhancing the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat. The enhanced southwest monsoon could trigger moderate to heavy rain in the Visayas, and light to heavy rain in Palawan, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga.
Residents of areas affected by the southwest monsoon should be on alert for flash floods and landslides, too.
Ompong is the Philippines' 15th 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)
News you can use during Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut):