Tropical Depression "Vinta" enters Philippine territory; may become tropical storm

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 20)  —  A low pressure east of Mindanao intensified Wednesday into a Tropical Depression named "Vinta," the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

Tropical depression Vinta may intensify further into a tropical storm before making landfall on Thursday, PAGASA said in its 11 p.m. advisory.

Vinta carries maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 60 kph, as it travels west at 20 kph, and was last spotted 605 km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, it added.

Scattered to widespread rains are expected over Eastern Visayas and Eastern Mindanao within the next 24 hours, it said.

"Dahil medyo may kabilisan, maaaring bukas ng gabi, tatama na ito sa pagitan ng Davao tsaka Caraga region," PAGASA forecaster Jun Galang told CNN Philippines "Balitaan". Caraga comprises the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands. 

[Translation: Because the LPA is moving quite quickly, it may hit the Davao and Caraga regions by tomorrow night.]

Vinta is traveling faster than Urduja and may bring less rains, PAGASA said. But it warned residents of affected areas not to be complacent and to be alert against possible flash floods or landslides.

Forecaster Galang added that the growing cyclone may also affect the Zamboanga peninsula and southern Visayas, including the provinces of Negros Oriental, Bohol, Siquijor, and southern Palawan.

Tropical depression Vinta arrives a day after deadly tropical cyclone "Urduja" left the country as it gears up for Christmas. Transport officials and the Interior Department also issued advisories to commuters traveling through the holidays and to residents regarding their areas' susceptibility to floods or landslides.

Read: 41 dead, 45 missing as TD 'Urduja' leaves PH; country girds for 'Vinta'

Tropical Cyclone Signal Warning No. 1 was hoisted Wednesday over the following areas:

  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Davao del Norte
  • Compostela Valley
  • Northern Davao Oriental

Sea travel has been canceled in these areas.

Transport officials cancel inter-island bus services to southern Philippines

Ahead of the approaching cyclone, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday suspended roll on-roll off (RoRo) bus trips to Visayas and Mindanao.

LTFRB said "Roro" bus trips will not be allowed to travel to Mindanao starting 11 p.m.

Earlier, the LTFRB extended the duration of special permits for buses because of the cyclone. This allows them to make trips outside of their authorized route.

READ: PAGASA: New LPA threatens to gain strength, bring rain in parts of Visayas, Mindanao

Buses may start traveling two days earlier than originally scheduled beginning December 21, 2017 to January 3, 2018, the LTFRB said in a statement Tuesday.

"All drivers are advised to take precautionary measures during their trips," it added.

Interior Dept to public: monitor weather advisories, town and city bulletins

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also urged the public to plan their holidays in line with official weather forecasts.

"Let us celebrate the holiday season with precaution," said DILG officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy in a statement on Wednesday. "Please do not be complacent and take heed of weather advisories, as well as your local government units," he said.

They cited the websites of PAGASA and Project NOAH (or Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) for further information.

The public and local governments can visit the Mines and Geosciences Bureau's Geohazard Map Portal, which has data and maps on flood-prone and landslide-prone areas.

On Christmas day 2016, typhoon Nina (international name: Nock-ten) battered the Bicol region and southern Luzon, leaving three dead.

It became the eighth typhoon since 1948 that entered the Philippines within the period of December 21 to 31, PAGASA said.