The online news portal of TV5
(UPDATED - 7:57 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines- The country's first storm for the year developed Thursday evening just as the state weather bureau officially announced the start of the rainy season.
Tropical Storm "Ambo" was spotted some 190 kilometers north east of Virac, Catanduanes at around 4 p.m. according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
The storm gained strength but slowed down to 15 kilometers per hour as it moves north west. Its wind strength is now 65 kph near the center with gustiness of up to 80 kph.
Ambo has yet to make landfall but is already affecting the Bicol Region where a storm signal warning is in place.
Signal No 1 is now hoisted over Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte. Also under Signal No 1 are Polilio Island, Isabela and Aurora.
Ambo is travelling northwest and may not make landfall, based on Pagasa's models.
Ambo is expected to dump between 10 and 15 millimeters of rain per hour within 500 kilometers. Houses made from light materials like nipa and cogon may be partially unroofed, while some small trees may be broken.
View Tropical Depression 'Ambo' in a larger map
Pagasa is advising residents in Catanduanes to await the weather bulletins for their areas issued every six hours.
Though still weak, Ambo is pulling the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat, which is already bringing cloudiness and scattered rains over the western section of the country.
Here is Pagasa's three-day forecast of the storm's path:
Saturday afternoon: 220 km East Southeast of Aparri, Cagayan
Sunday afternoon : 280 km East Northeast of Basco, Batanes
Monday morning: 640 km Northeast of Basco, Batanes
Ambo's path based on the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii
On Thursday evening, parts of Metro Manila were submerged in floodwaters, causing massive traffic in some of the major thoroughfares due to isolated rains caused by the southwest monsoon.
The presence of the habagat and the recording of 25 mm of rain in three consecutive days in at least five weather stations of Pagasa arethe requirements needed in declaring the start of the rainy season.
More than 19 storms are expected to visit the country this year, according to Pagasa.
For an up-to-date weather forecast please visit: www.interaksyon.com/weather