‘Odette’ is now a super typhoon, says US weather bureau

MANILA, Philippines — Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) has turned into a super typhoon as it is projected to make landfall on Thursday, the U.S.-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has reported.

In its latest bulletin, the JTWC said Odette is currently packing maximum sustained winds of 140 knots — 259 kilometers per hour (kph) — with gustiness of 170 knots (340 kph).

“[Super Typhoon Rai] has undergone an impressive rapid intensification,” JTWC said in its report.

Super Typhoon Odette is located approximately 481 nautical miles (890 kilometers) southeast of Manila, going westwards at 14 knots (25 kph) over the past six hours, the JTWC added.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) also hoisted Signal No 4 in Southern Leyte, the eastern portion of Bohol, the Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte including Siargao, and the Bucas Grande Islands, where very destructive typhoon-force winds are now prevailing or are expected within 12 hours.

Pagasa, in its latest bulletin, said Odette will continue moving generally westwards over the Philippine Sea with the center of its eye forecasted to make landfall in the vicinity of the Dinagat Islands, the Siargao-Bucas Grande Islands, or the northern portion of Surigao del Sur on Thursday noon or afternoon.

“Considering the recent trend in its intensification, the typhoon may reach a pre-landfall peak intensity of 175 to 195 kph prior to landfall,” Pagasa added.

Signal No. 4 now possible as Typhoon Odette rapidly intensifies further

Typhoon Odette (Rai) gains even more strength early Thursday morning, December 16. It is now seen to reach a pre-landfall peak intensity of up to 195 km/h.

Forecast Track Odette
Forecast Track Odette

There is now an “increasing likelihood” of Signal No. 4 being raised for areas “near and along the immediate path” of Typhoon Odette (Rai), as the tropical cyclone rapidly intensified early Thursday morning, December 16, on its way to the Caraga region.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 8 am bulletin on Thursday that Odette’s maximum sustained winds increased from 150 kilometers per hour to 165 km/h, while its gustiness is now up to 205 km/h from the previous 185 km/h.

The typhoon will continue to strengthen before it makes its first landfall either in Dinagat Islands, Siargao-Bucas Grande Islands, or the northern part of Surigao del Sur by Thursday noontime or early afternoon.

“Considering the recent trend in its intensification, the typhoon may reach a pre-landfall peak intensity of 175 to 195 km/h,” PAGASA said.

That would still place Odette in the typhoon category. A super typhoon has maximum sustained winds exceeding 220 km/h.

Odette was already 265 kilometers east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, as of early Thursday morning. It continues to move west northwest at 25 km/h.

The areas under tropical cyclone wind signals as of 8 am are the following:

Signal No. 3 (destructive typhoon-force winds)
  • Southern Leyte
  • southern part of Leyte (Abuyog, Mahaplag, Baybay City, Inopacan, Hindang, Hilongos, Bato, Matalom, Javier)
  • Bohol
  • central and southern parts of Cebu (Lapu-Lapu City, Cordova, Carmen, Danao City, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cebu City, Talisay City, Minglanilla, Naga City, San Fernando, Ginatilan, Samboan, Santander, Oslob, Badian, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Malabuyoc, Alegria, Argao, Catmon, Tuburan, Asturias, Sogod, Balamban, Toledo City, Pinamungahan, Carcar City, Aloguinsan, Barili, Dumanjug, Sibonga, Moalboal, Ronda, Alcantara) including Camotes Islands
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Surigao del Norte
  • northern part of Agusan del Norte (Tubay, Santiago, Jabonga, Kitcharao)
  • northern part of Surigao del Sur (Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen, Lanuza, Cortes, Tandag City)
Signal No. 2 (damaging gale- to storm-force winds)
  • Sorsogon
  • Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands
  • Cuyo Islands
  • Cagayancillo Islands
  • southern part of Oriental Mindoro (Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao)
  • Romblon
  • Northern Samar
  • Eastern Samar
  • Samar
  • Biliran
  • rest of Leyte
  • rest of Cebu including Bantayan Islands
  • Negros Oriental
  • Negros Occidental
  • Siquijor
  • Guimaras
  • Iloilo
  • Antique
  • Capiz
  • Aklan
  • rest of Surigao del Sur
  • rest of Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • northern part of Bukidnon (Malitbog, Impasug-ong, Manolo Fortich, Libona, Baungon, Sumilao)
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Camiguin
  • northern part of Misamis Occidental (Lopez Jaena, Plaridel, Baliangao, Calamba, Sapang Dalaga, Concepcion, Oroquieta City, Aloran)
  • extreme northern part of Zamboanga del Norte (Rizal, Sibutad, Dapitan City, Dipolog City, Polanco, Piñan, La Libertad, Mutia)
Signal No. 1 (strong winds)
  • Catanduanes
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Burias Island
  • Marinduque
  • southern part of Quezon (San Antonio, Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya, Dolores, Lucena City, Pagbilao, Padre Burgos, Atimonan, Agdangan, Unisan, Gumaca, Plaridel, Pitogo, Lopez, Guinayangan, Buenavista, Catanauan, General Luna, Macalelon, Mulanay, San Narciso, San Andres, San Francisco, Tagkawayan, Calauag, Quezon, Alabat, Tayabas City, Perez)
  • Batangas
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • mainland Palawan including Balabac, Calamian, and Kalayaan Islands
  • northern part of Davao Oriental (Baganga, Cateel, Boston)
  • northern part of Davao de Oro (Laak, Mawab, Nabunturan, Montevista, Monkayo, New Bataan, Compostela)
  • northern part of Davao del Norte (Talaingod, Santo Tomas, Kapalong, Asuncion, San Isidro, New Corella)
  • rest of Misamis Occidental
  • rest of Bukidnon
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Lanao del Sur
  • northern part of Zamboanga del Norte (Labason, Kalawit, Tampilisan, Liloy, Salug, Godod, Bacungan, Sindangan, Siayan, Jose Dalman, Manukan, President Manuel A. Roxas, Katipunan, Sergio Osmeña Sr., Gutalac, Baliguian)
  • northern part of Zamboanga del Sur (Bayog, Lakewood, Kumalarang, Guipos, Mahayag, Dumalinao, Tukuran, Tambulig, Ramon Magsaysay, Aurora, Molave, Sominot, Tigbao, Labangan, Josefina, Pagadian City, Midsalip, Dumingag)
  • northern part of Zamboanga Sibugay (Titay, Ipil, Naga, Kabasalan, Siay, Diplahan, Buug)

PAGASA also issued this updated rainfall forecast at 8 am, again reminding the public to be on alert for floods and landslides:

Thursday, December 16, until early Friday morning, December 17

  • Heavy to torrential rain – Caraga, Central Visayas, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental
  • Moderate to heavy rain, with at times intense rain – Leyte, southern part of Eastern Samar, southern part of Samar, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, rest of Northern Mindanao
  • Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain – Bicol, Quezon, rest of Visayas, rest of Zamboanga Peninsula, rest of mainland Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Early Friday morning, December 17, until early Saturday morning, December 18

  • Heavy to intense rain, with at times torrential rain – Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Palawan including Calamian, Cuyo, and Cagayancillo Islands
  • Moderate to heavy rain, with at times intense rain – Bicol, Zamboanga Peninsula, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, rest of Visayas
  • Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain – Caraga, southern part of Aurora, rest of Northern Mindanao

Early Saturday morning, December 18, until early Sunday morning, December 19

  • Heavy to torrential rain – Kalayaan Islands
  • Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain – mainland Palawan, Calamian Islands

PAGASA also warned that there is a “moderate to high risk” of storm surges up to 3 meters high “which may cause life-threatening flooding in the low-lying coastal areas of Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, and several localities in the northern portion of Palawan including Calamian, Cuyo, and Cagayancillo Islands, Antique, the southern portion of Samar, Leyte, and Davao Oriental.”

Forecast Track Odette
Forecast Track Odette

On Thursday, moderate to very high seas are expected in seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals. Waves are estimated to be 1.2 to 10 meters high, making travel risky for all types of vessels.

Coastal waters not under any tropical cyclone wind signal in the seaboards of Northern Luzon and in the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon also remain under a gale warning due to the typhoon and the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan. Seas are rough to very rough, with waves 2.8 to 4.5 meters high.

The remaining seaboards of the Philippines not under any wind signal will have moderate to rough seas. Waves are 1.2 to 3.1 meters high and conditions are risky for small vessels.

After its first landfall on Thursday, Odette is seen to cross several provinces in Central Visayas and Western Visayas before emerging over the Sulu Sea on Friday morning, December 17.

Then it could pass near or in the vicinity of Cuyo or Cagayancillo and cross the northern or central part of Palawan on Friday afternoon or evening before finally exiting landmass toward the West Philippine Sea.

PAGASA said Odette may slightly weaken as it crosses northeastern Mindanao, the Visayas, and Palawan, but it will remain a typhoon. It is also likely to reintensify over the West Philippine Sea.

The typhoon could start to weaken again on Sunday, December 19, however, as it “becomes exposed to increasing vertical wind shear and the surge of the northeast monsoon,” the weather bureau said. By this time, it would already be outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

Odette may leave PAR on Saturday afternoon, December 18.

Odette is the Philippines’ 15th tropical cyclone for 2021. Around 20 form within or enter PAR each year.

Here are PAGASA’s estimates for tropical cyclones in the coming months:

  • December 2021 – 1 or 2
  • January 2022 – 0 or 1
  • February 2022 – 0 or 1
  • March 2022 – 0 or 1
  • April 2022 – 0 or 1
  • May 2022 – 1 or 2