'Butchoy' slows down, maintains strength-A A +A
Friday, June 15, 2012
MANILA (Updated) -- Tropical Storm "Butchoy" (international codename: Guchol) has slowed down but maintained its strength Thursday night as it moves west northwest of Eastern Samar, the state weather bureau said.
"Butchoy" packed maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph as of 10 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its 11 p.m. Thursday bulletin.
Spotted some 680 kilometers east of Guian, Eastern Samar, Butchoy is moving west northwest at 15 kph. The second storm to visit the country after "Ambo" won't make landfall but it would intensify into a typhoon, enhancing the southwest monsoon over Luzon and Visayas.
"This weekend into Monday is when Guchol will make its closest approach to the Philippines and Taiwan. The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center expects Guchol's center and strongest winds to pass well offshore, but residents should not let their guard down," senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said in a note.
It will be in the country for four to five days, Pagasa senior weather forecaster Mario Palafox said on Wednesday, with the cloud mass concentrated over northern Luzon.
"Even though Guchol will pass east of the Philippines, places along the western slopes of the nation's mountains will face the greatest flood and mudslide threat from these downpours," Pydynowski said.
Buchoy is expected to be 450 kilometer (km) east of Borongan, Eastern Samar by Friday evening; 500 km east of Baler, Aurora by Saturday evening and 280 km east of Basco, Batanes by Sunday evening.
Estimated rainfall amount is from 15–25 millimeters per hour (heavy) within the 300-kilometer diameter of the storm, according to Pagasa.
Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), has advised local disaster risk reduction managers to prepare and take precautionary measures.
NDRRMC urged fishermen in the eastern seaboard not to venture out to sea and urged the local government units to prepare for rains and floods.
NDRRMC reported nine deaths and 60 missing since Tuesday due the severe weather conditions. Six died when a cargo vessel sunk in Palawan, while two others died due to flashfloods in Sarangani and other provinces in Mindanao.
Pagasa said the weather disturbance will exit the country by Tuesday next week. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)