Tropical depression “Ofel” left the Philippine Area of Responsibility before dawn Friday but the southwest monsoon or “habagat” will continue to bring rains across the country this weekend.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) last spotted Ofel 500 kilometers west of Iba, Zambales at 4 a.m. or already outside PAR, with maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 55 kph and will continue to move west-northwest at 20 kph.
PAGASA said Ofel will continue moving over the West Philippine Sea in the next 24 hours and is likely to persist until its landfall over the central portion of Vietnam between Friday night and Saturday morning where it is expected to weaken into a “remnant low.”
Since it developed from a low-pressure area Tuesday night, Ofel had made landfall in the country five times – in Can-avid, Eastern Samar; Matnog, Sorsogon; Burias Island, Masbate; Torrijos, Marinduque; and San Juan, Batangas – all on Wednesday.
Though Ofel is already outside PAR, the habagat will bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
PAGASA warned residents in these regions on possible flooding, including flash floods, and rain-induced landslides during heavy or prolonged rainfall especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.
The northeasterly surface wind flow will trigger strong- to gale-force winds with occasional gusts over Batanes, Babuyan Islands, and the northern coastal and or mountainous areas of mainland Cagayan, Apayao, and Ilocos Norte.
Strong-force winds with occasional gusts will be experienced over Kalayaan Islands and the coastal and mountainous areas of southern Palawan due to habagat.
The State weather bureau also raised a gale warning over the seaboards of Batanes, Cagayan, and Ilocos Norte due to rough to very rough seas associated with the northeasterly surface wind flow.
Moderate to rough seas due to southwest monsoon and the northeasterly surface wind flow will also be experienced over the remaining seaboards of Northern Luzon and the eastern and western seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon.
PAGASA warned that sea travel is risky, especially for small seacraft, over seaboards where a gale warning was raised due to rough sea conditions and wave height of up to 4.5 meters.
Ofel is the 15th tropical cyclone that entered PAR this year and the second this month after tropical storm “Nika.” At least two to three tropical cyclones are likely to enter PAR this October, PAGASA added.
The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually. More rains are expected in the coming months according to PAGASA due to the onset of the La Niña phenomenon.