By Ellalyn De Vera Ruiz
Parts of Mindanao might get to enjoy rains amid the prevailing weak El Niño in the country early next week, thanks to a tropical depression off the Pacific coast that is threatening to make landfall over Davao Oriental.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that as of Saturday morning, the tropical depression – located 1,505 kilometers east of Mindanao – was still outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).
Should it continue to move west, the tropical depression will find itself within PAR either by Saturday evening (March 16) or Sunday morning (March 17), and will be designated the name “Chedeng.”
The cyclone has maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 60 kph.
PAGASA said scattered to widespread heavy rains may be experienced over parts of Mindanao on Monday and Tuesday.
The cyclone is seen to make landfall over eastern Davao Oriental between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
But there remains a possibility that this tropical depression would weaken into a low-pressure area before moving closer to the country, PAGASA said.
Residents in Mindanao, especially those living in areas at high risk of flooding and landslides, and the concerned disaster risk reduction and management offices were advised to continue monitoring the PAGASA updates.
By Sunday morning, PAGASA expects the tropical depression to reach 970 kilometers east of Mindanao. After 24 hours, it will be at 485 kilometers east-southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, the weather bureau said.
Meanwhile, PAGASA weather specialist Loriedin Dela Cruz said the tail end of the cold front will prevail across Northern and Central Luzon.
Batanes, Babuyan Island, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, and La Union will experience cloudy skies with light rains. Isolated to scattered rain showers may also affect the rest of the country.
Flash floods or landslides due to severe thunderstorms may affect parts of Metro Manila, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Apayao, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Rizal, Quezon, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.
This notwithstanding, PAGASA said that it is rare for tropical cyclones to enter the country in March based on historical record.