TROPICAL cyclone Mawar has regained strength as a super typhoon while moving over the Pacific Ocean after battering Guam on Wednesday, and is expected to enter the Philippine area by Friday night earliest, according to state weather agency PAGASA.
In its 11 a.m. update on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Mawar was located 2,065 kilometers (km) east of southeastern Luzon.
It was moving slowly at 10 km per hour (km/h) with maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 230 km/h.
PAGASA weather forecaster Ana Clauren-Jorda said on Thursday that the super typhoon is still unlikely to make landfall in the Philippines, but its “wide circulation with a radius of up to 400 km” will bring heavy rains in northern Luzon.
Storm signals 2-3 may be raised over Batanes and the Babuyan Islands, and signal #1 in the Cagayan Valley region, she said.
“Strong to gale-force conditions may be experienced in most areas of the region except for Batanes-Babuyan Islands area, which may have gale to storm-force conditions,” she said during the 11 a.m. livestreamed update.
Mawar is also forecast to enhance the southwest monsoon, which will bring monsoon rains over the western portions of Luzon and Visayas beginning on Sunday or Monday.
“However, the monsoon rains scenario may still change due to dependence of southwest monsoon enhancement on the track and intensity of Mawar,” she added.
PREPARATIONSNational agencies and local governments have been rolling out disaster preparedness measures, including putting response teams on red alert and prepositioning relief goods.
In Sta. Ana, Cagayan, Mayor Nelson Robinion canceled the earlier declaration of a one-week non-working holiday for the celebration of their 8th Viray Festival. The activities for the festival have been moved to June.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), meanwhile, said airports in northern Luzon have taken precautionary measures.
Airports that may be affected include those in Tuguegarao, Basco, Itbayat, Cauayan, Palanan, Laoag, Vigan, and Baguio.
Globe Telecom, Inc. has also initiated preparations of its network and personnel for the potential impact of Mawar.
“In anticipation of the powerful typhoon, Globe’s technical and support teams are on alert and ready to take swift action to ensure continuous network operations and address potential issues due to adverse weather,” the company said in a press release.
Globe said that it has also equipped generators and other fail-safe backups for its critical facilities in case of power failures. It will also offer free data service to its customers for accessing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council website for them to receive verified real time updates. — with reports from Justine Irish D. Tabile and Artemio A. Dumlao