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Monday, November 23, 2009

Tropical depression 27W (Urduja) heads for southern Philippines

A tropical disturbance has strengthened into a tropical depression near the central and southern Philippine Islands. Named Urduja by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), tropical depression 27W is expected to reach the central Philippine Visayas and enter the Gulf of Layte tonight.

The track of the storm then appears to be questionable. PAGASA and Typhoon 2000 both indicate that URUDJA will continue for the next day or so towards the northwest. However, US meteorological sources indicate that URUDJA will hook around to the south and pass over Mindnao Island exiting back into the Philippine Sea on an easterly heading.

The basis for this spiral storm track projection is a weak steering current that will be created due to a receeding pressure ridge to the northwest of the system. After leaving the influences of land, the system is expected to strengthen to a Cat 1 typhoon and may interact with TS Nida (26W) to the east.

While the island of Luzon has been pummelled with 4 typhoons that produced heavy rain and flooding a couple of months ago, the southern islands have been quite dry, experiencing a drought induced by El Nino. The rain from Urudja could be a welcome relief if it doesn't inundate the area with too much rain too quickly. Signal 1 storm warnings have been put in place in as many as 20 areas for residents to watch for landslides and flash flooding caused by the storm.

Signal up in 20 areas as ‘Urduja’ moves toward Visayas (GMA News)

By Tuesday morning it is expected to make landfall over Leyte, and by evening it is expected to be 40 kms east-southeast of Roxas City.

By Wednesday evening it is expected to be 120 kms west-northwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. The next evening it is expected to be 450 kms northwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Areas under Storm Signal No. 1 include Masbate, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Biliran, Leyte provinces, Cebu, Camotes Island, Bohol, Negros provinces, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Camiguin, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, and Siargao Island.

Pagasa reminded residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes in areas under Storm Signal 1 to take precautions against possible flash floods and landslides.

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