MANILA, Philippines–A tropical storm with the international name “Hagupit” over the Pacific Ocean is fast approaching the country and will hit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Thursday, the weather bureau said.
PAGASA forecaster Buddy Javier said Hagupit was headed towards the eastern portion of the country, packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of 90 kph as of 4 a.m. Tuesday.
Javier, however, said the more likely scenario is for the storm to skirt the Philippines and move towards Japan due to the presence of the high pressure area (anti-cyclone) northeast of the Philippines and the strengthening of the northeast monsoon (amihan), which brings cold winds that are unfavorable for the development or intensification of a weather disturbance.
Hagupit quickly intensified on Monday from a low pressure area (LPA) to a tropical storm with winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour as it sped toward the country in a west northwest direction at 25 kph.
As of Monday night, the eye of the storm was estimated around 3,000 km from eastern Mindanao, according to Pagasa.
Hagupit, which was spotted 2,485 kms east of Mindanao as of 4 a.m. Tuesday, will be locally named ”Ruby” once it enters the PAR.
The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the US Navy, meanwhile, said the storm was packing one-minute sustained winds of 101 kph (55 knots) as of 8 a.m. Manila time.
The JTWC forecasts Hagupit to pack 240 kph (130 knots) by December 6 (Saturday), 8 a.m., when it is nearer the Philippines.
News source: ABS-CBN