The online news portal of TV5
(Updated 5:23 pm) MANILA - As it continues to inch closer to the Philippine coast, "Butchoy" has slowed down a bit but continued to gain strength over the sea, prompting the state weather bureau to classify it as a "severe tropical storm."
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) sent data to InterAksyon showing that the storm continued its west northwest movement but now travels at 20 kilometers per hour from 24 kph at 11 am.
As it slowed down, Butchoy might remain within the Philippine area of responsibility till Monday.
Butchoy's deceleration allowed it to collect more strength over the sea and it now packs wind strength of 95 kph and gustiness of 120 kph near the center.
According to Pagasa, Butchoy still has a long way to go before it reaches typhoon status. A typhoon has wind strength of 118 kph and above.
While it won't make landfall, Butchoy is projected to pull the southwest monsoon or habagat and a series of other weather systems. Butchoy packs rains of up to 15-25 millimeters per hour.
The weather bureau explained that the rains over Metro Manila and other parts of western Luzon and Visayas Thursday morning are not due to the storm but the habagat, which prevails over the entire country.
The country will feel the strong winds and rains of Butchoy only on late Friday or early Saturday. The country's second storm will begin its exit of the country by Sunday or early Monday.
So far, there is no storm signal warning hoisted over the country but the rains brought by the habagat, monsoon trough, and Butchoy heightened the alert for possible landslides and flashfloods over western and eastern Luzon and Visayas.
Small boats and fishing vessels are prohibited from sailing in the rough seas off western and northern Luzon, western Visayas and Mindanao.
Here is Pagasa's forecast of the storms location in the next three days:
Friday morning - 560 km east of Virac, Catanduanes
Saturday morning - 320 km northeast of Virac, Catanduanes
Sunday morning - 310 km northeast of Aparri, Cagayan
Based on TV5's Metra Weather System, Luzon and Visayas will experience very heavy rains on Saturday, when Butchoy is nearest to the land. The rains won't cease till Tuesday and may cover most parts of northern and eastern Luzon.
All major Luzon dams in the country are still below their spilling levels and have not opened any of its gates. But Pagasa is keeping a close eye on Magat dam in Isabela, which always fills up first at the onset of a storm.