‘Agaton’ slightly intensifies; Alert signal up in 4 areas

TROPICAL Depression “Agaton” has slightly intensified as it remains almost stationary over Eastern Visayas, the state-run weather agency said on Saturday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its 5 p.m. advisory that Signal No. 1 is still raised over Eastern Samar in the Visayas and in Dinagat Islands, Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands in Mindanao.

The tropical cyclone was estimated at 130 kilometers east-southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, said senior weather specialist Chris Perez.

From 45 kilometers per hour (kph), Perez said Agaton is now packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 70 kph.

“It is moving north-eastward slowly,” said as he added that due to the erratic nature of its movement, a landfall over the coast of Eastern Samar is possible.

However, the tropical depression may begin turning generally northeastward on Monday afternoon or Tuesday as it interacts with the incoming tropical cyclone called “Malakas” (international name), he added.

“Agaton is forecast to intensify into a tropical storm in the next 24 hours. By Tuesday, the disturbance may weaken into tropical depression and may degenerate into a remnant low by late Tuesday or early Wednesday as Malakas begins to assimilate its circulation,” Perez said.

Once inside as it was forecast to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Monday or Tuesday, Malakas will have its domestic name “Basyang,” Pagasa said.

“If that happens, we will have two typhoons at the same time,” the Pagasa forecaster said.

“Based on our forecast, Malakas may appear to be stronger and it may influence Agaton, which now remains stationary, but may move slowly on the way out of the country as Malakas enters,” Perez added.

The state-run weather agency said Malakas was last spotted some 2,015 kms east of Mindanao while packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph.

It is moving west-northwestward at the speed of 15 kph, Pagasa said.

Today until early Sunday morning, Pagasa said moderate to heavy with at times intense rains may prevail over Eastern Visayas, Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte while light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Masbate, Sorsogon, the rest of Visayas and Mindanao.

By Sunday through early Monday morning, Eastern Visayas, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and the northern and central portions of Cebu including Bantayan and Camotes Islands will likely have moderate to heavy with at times intense rains, it said.

On one hand, light to moderate with at times heavy rains will be experienced over Masbate, Sorsogon, the rest of Visayas and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the northeasterly surface wind flow is affecting Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra and Ilocos Norte which will likely have cloudy skies with rains over the same period.

The weather bureau said Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms caused by the localized thunderstorms.

In the same press briefing, hydrologist Elmer Caringal said the dams, including Angat Dam, the main source of water supply of Metro Manila and adjoining provinces, remain in safe condition.

“We are monitoring them and so far there is no sign yet to release water from the dams,” said Caringal as he added that at the minimum they will issue an advisory in six hours before a particular dam will release water.