34 areas under storm signals as Ruby gains strength

CEBU CITY -- At least 34 areas have been placed under storm signals as Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) continues to gain more strength while moving toward west northwest of Eastern Visayas.

As of 5 a.m. Friday, the eye of the typhoon was located at 485 kilometers (km) east of Borongan, Eastern Samar, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Pagasa weather forecaster Shair Nonot said Ruby has gained maximum sustained winds from 205 kilometers per hour (kph) to 215 kph, while its gustiness also rose from 240 kph to 250 kph.

She said the typhoon continues to move west northwest, but decelerates from 15 kph to 13 kph.

With Ruby's movement and speed, the typhoon is expected to make landfall in northern or eastern Samar by Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Track of Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) as of 4 a.m. Friday (Source: Pagasa)

The typhoon will cause moderate damage to agriculture, particularly rice and corn, in these areas, uproot trees, unroof nipa and cogon houses, roll off some old galvanized iron roofing, and render travel by all types of sea vessels and aircrafts risky.

Under public storm signal number 1, meanwhile, are the rest of Catanduanes and provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Burias Island, Romblon, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, rest of Cebu, Siquijor, Bohol, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur, and Camiguin Island.

In these areas, twigs and branches of trees may be broken, banana plants may tilt or land flat on the ground, rice in flowering stage may suffer significant damage, some nipa and cogon houses may be partially unroofed, and sea travel of small seacraft and fishing boats is risky, said Pagasa.

The weather bureau said moderate to heavy rains are expected within 24 to 36 hours over the areas under signal numbers 2 and 1.

Pagasa warned residents in low lying and mountainous areas against possible flashfloods and landslides, while those living near coastal areas were alerted against possible storm surges.

Storm surge has been defined as an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm over and above the predicted astronomical tide, according to the US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA).

Project NOAH released Thursday an official list of localities where storm surges are expected. Click here to see the list.

Nonot said that due to Ruby and Northeast Monsoon, sea condition will be rough to very rough over the eastern seaboard of southern, central and northern Luzon, and the eastern seaboard of Visayas and Mindanao.

Pagasa said Typhoon Ruby is forecast to be at 230 km east of Borongan, Eastern Samar by Saturday morning and at 85 km southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar by Sunday morning.

By Monday morning, the typhoon is expected to be in the vicinity of Romblon, the weather bureau added. (PNA/Sunnex)

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