Tropical Depression “Ofel” continues to dump heavy rains over the southern part of Luzon on Wednesday, Oct. 14, night while heading towards Oriental Mindoro where it is expected to make landfall, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
Based on the 8 p.m. bulletin of PAGASA, the center of Ofel was spotted off 35 kilometers north of Romblon, Romblon and moving westward between Marinduque-Romblon area at 15 kilometers per hour (kph).
The tropical depression maintained its strength and currently packs maximum sustained winds of 45 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 55 kph.
According to PAGASA, Ofel is forecasted to make its fourth landfall over Oriental Mindoro between Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
Since it developed from a low pressure area on Tuesday night, Ofel already made three landfalls on Wednesday — in Can-avid, Eastern Samar at 2:30 a.m., Matnog, Sorsogon at 6 a.m., and in Burias Island, Masbate at 12 p.m.
PAGASA said Ofel will remain as a tropical depression while crossing Southern Luzon but is likely to intensify into a tropical storm upon emerging over the West Philippine Sea before exiting the country on Friday morning or afternoon.
Storm warning signal no. 1
While a storm warning signal was already lifted in Masbate including Ticao Islands, PAGASA said that tropical cyclone wind signal number 1 remains in place in the following areas:
• Southern part of Laguna (Luisiana, Majayjay, Liliw, Nagcarlan, Rizal, San Pablo City, Calauan, Alaminos, Los Baños, Bay, Magdalena)
• Central and southern parts of Quezon (Guinayangan, Tagkawayan, Buenavista, San Narciso, San Andres, Mulanay, San Francisco, Catanauan, Lopez, Calauag, Quezon, Alabat, Perez, Atimonan, Tayabas City, Mauban, Sampaloc, Lucban, Gumaca, General Luna, Macalelon, Pitogo, Unisan, Plaridel, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Pagbilao, Lucena City, Sariaya, Candelaria, Dolores, Tiaong, San Antonio)
• Calamian Islands
• Occidental Mindoro
• Oriental Mindoro
• Camarines Norte
• Camarines Sur
• Burias Island
Winds of 30 to 60 kilometers per hour or intermittent rains may be expected in at least 36 hours on areas where storm warning signal number 1 was raised, PAGASA said.
Hazards due to Ofel
The state weather bureau said Ofel will bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over CALABARZON, Camarines Norte, Marinduque, Romblon, and Mindoro provinces until Thursday afternoon.
While light to moderate with at times heavy rains will be experienced over Central Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, Metro Manila, Palawan, Cagayan, Isabela, and the rest of Bicol Region due to the tropical depression and the southwest monsoon or “habagat.”
With this, PAGASA warned the public that “flooding, including flash floods, as well as rain-induced landslides, may occur during heavy or prolonged rainfall especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.”
PAGASA also raised a gale warning over the seaboards of Batanes and Ilocos Norte and the northern seaboard of Cagayan including Babuyan Islands due to rough seas associated with the northeasterly surface wind flow.
Moderate to rough seas due to Ofel will also be experienced over the eastern seaboards of Luzon and Visayas in the next 24 hours, especially in areas where a storm warning signal is in effect.
PAGASA warned that sea travel is risky, especially for small sea crafts, over seaboards where a gale warning was raised due to rough sea conditions and wave height of up to 4.0 meters.
Ofel is the 15th tropical cyclone to enter the country 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 La Niña.