SEVERE Tropical Storm “Odette” intensified into a typhoon around 8 a.m. Wednesday, December 15, as it moved westward over the Philippine Sea east of Mindanao, weather forecasters said.

Further intensification is expected Wednesday through Thursday, December 16, as the typhoon crosses the Philippine Sea, said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

It added that Odette may reach a peak intensity of 155 kilometers per hour (km/h) prior to making landfall over the vicinity of Caraga or Eastern Visayas Thursday afternoon or evening.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Pagasa located the center of Odette at 590 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h near the center, gusts of up to 150 km/h, and central pressure of 975 hPa. It was moving westward at 20 km/h.

Pagasa said strong winds or higher may extend outwards up to 330 kilometers from the typhoon’s center.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) Number 2 was hoisted over the eastern portion of Surigao del Norte (Claver, Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands) and Surigao del Sur.

Under areas TCWS Number 1 are the following:

Luzon

Sorsogon, Masbate including Ticao Island, and the southern portion of Romblon (Cajidiocan, San Fernando, Magdiwang, Alcantara, Looc, Santa Fe, San Jose)

Visayas

Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, and Guimaras

Mindanao

Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, the rest of Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, the northern portion of Bukidnon (Malitbog, Impasug-Ong, Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Libona, Baungon), Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, the northern portion of Misamis Occidental (Plaridel, Baliangao, Sapang Dalaga), and the northern portion of Zamboanga del Norte (Dapitan City, Sibutad, Rizal, La Libertad, Dipolog City)

Pagasa said Odette was forecast to move west northwestward until Wednesday afternoon or evening, then westward thereafter.

After making landfall in the vicinity of Caraga or Eastern Visayas by Thursday afternoon or evening, the center of Odette will continue to move generally westward and cross several provinces in Central and Western Visayas regions before emerging over the Sulu Sea on Friday morning or afternoon, December 17.

After passing near or over the Cuyo archipelago, this tropical cyclone is forecast to cross the northern portion of Palawan on Friday evening before emerging over the West Philippine Sea, said Pagasa. (SunStar Philippines)