Screenshot from http://bagong.pagasa.dost.gov.ph, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) website.

Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut) is set to enter the country this weekend.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Ompong is already 575 km East Northeast of Virac, Catanduanes as of 4:00 p.m. today, moving west at a slower 25 kilometers per hour (kph) from the previous 30 kph.

Ompong is currently barreling across the Pacific with winds of 205 kph, and gusts reaching 255 kph.

PAGASA said Ompong will be the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. It will arrive in the northern part of the Philippines as its wind speed rises.

A total of 43.3 million people may be affected by the typhoon across the Philippines, China, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and that a high humanitarian impact is expected, as reported by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

The Philippine Red Cross Communications Officer Mary Joy Evalarosa estimated that three million Filipinos live in the direct path of Mangkhut. According to her, seven million others are at risk in the country, with the typhoon expected to boost the intensity of seasonal monsoon rains that have already caused widespread flooding in central Luzon, a mainly farming region north of capital Manila.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol, on a Facebook post, said Ompong may cause as much as 13.5 billion pesos in damage to crops.

PAGASA warned that there may be heavy to intense rain, storm surges in coastal areas, and very strong winds in Cagayan Valley and CAR starting Friday, September 14, and in Northern Luzon on Saturday, September 15.

Ompong is expected to make landfall in the northern Cagayan on Saturday morning.

Fisherfolks and those with small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of areas under Signal No. 1, the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon, and the eastern seaboards of the Visayas and Mindanao.

Local government units, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard are already placed on alert to respond to the typhoon.


Stay updated on Typhoon Ompong by visiting http://bagong.pagasa.dost.gov.ph.

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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