By Ellalyn B. De Vera
One of two tropical cyclones being monitored by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has intensified into a storm with international name “Meari” before heading into the vicinity of the Philippines.
Before Thursday noon, storm Meari was at 1,385 kilometers (km) east of Luzon having maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
PAGASA said the storm is almost stationary due to its interaction with a tropical depression closely behind it. Meari was earlier forecast to reach Philippine waters Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, the tropical depression was last spotted 2,270 km east of Luzon packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and gustiness of up to 70 kph. It is seen to move northwest at 20 kph.
PAGASA said the cyclones remain outside the country’s area of responsibility and still have no direct impact over any part of the country.
Senior weather forecaster Jori Loiz said storm Meari is just about 200 km away from the borderline of the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), thus PAGASA does not discount the possibility of the cyclone’s entry into the vicinity.
Loiz has attributed the slow movement of the storm to a ridge of high pressure area, an anti-cyclone system, which block’s the path of Meari towards Philippine waters.
The tropical depression, which is at a close distance from the tropical storm, is also pulling Meari away from the country.
If Meari follows the same track as the tropical depression, it could move upward and will spare the Philippines from a possible landfall. But if it moves west, Meari could reach the Philippines and will be given a local name of “Marce.”