Low pressure area now Tropical Depression Vinta Featured

Low pressure area now Tropical Depression Vinta

Satellite image as of December 20, 4:30 pm. Image courtesy of NOAA

MANILA, Philippines – The low pressure area (LPA) off Mindanao intensified into a tropical depression on Wednesday afternoon, December 20. It has been given the local name Vinta.

In a bulletin issued past 5 pm on Wednesday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Vinta is already 735 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, moving west at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The tropical depression has maximum winds of 45 km/h and gustiness of up to 60 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Signal number 1 is raised in Surigao del Sur and northern Davao Oriental.

PAGASA also warned that scattered to widespread rains are expected in Eastern Mindanao and Eastern Visayas within the next 24 hours. Residents of these areas should be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Eastern Visayas is still reeling from the damage wrought by Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak), which battered the region as a tropical storm. National disaster management authorities said 41 people were killed and 45 others remain missing. Urduja had just left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday, December 19.

"Kung ikukumpara sa Bagyong Urduja mas mabilis 'yung ine-expect natin na movement ng Bagyong Vinta pero magdadala pa rin siya ng mga pag-ulan.... Mas mabagal ang Urduja, 'yun 'yung nagdala ng maraming ulan [sa Eastern Visayas].... Posibleng mas kaunti 'yung dalin [ni Vinta na] pag-ulan but again, hindi iyon dahilan para maging kampante 'yung mga kababayan natin," said PAGASA forecaster Obet Badrina in a news briefing late Wednesday afternoon.

(If we compare it to Urduja, Vinta is moving faster but it will still bring heavy rain.... Urduja was slower so it lingered and dumped massive amounts of rainfall over Eastern Visayas. It's possible Vinta will bring less rain but again, that's not a reason for the public to be complacent.)

Now, with Vinta inside PAR, sea travel is risky in the seaboards of Eastern Mindanao, as waters will be moderate to rough.

Based on its latest forecast track, Vinta could intensify into a tropical storm before it makes landfall in the Surigao del Sur-Davao Oriental area between Thursday evening, December 21 to Friday morning, December 22.

After landfall, Vinta is expected to cross Caraga, Northern Mindanao, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and southern Palawan.

It will then leave PAR on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Vinta as of December 20, 5 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Meanwhile, the tail-end of a cold front is affecting Bicol and Quezon including Polillo Island. Those areas should also watch out for possible flash floods and landslides, with light to heavy rain expected.

The northeast monsoon is also affecting Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Central Luzon, and the rest of Calabarzon, but PAGASA said there will be "no significant impact" from the scattered rainshowers.

The rest of Visayas as well as Mimaropa will only have isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms. – Rappler.com

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