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

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Story updated with statement from the Interior Dept. on need for public to prepare.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 20) — A new low pressure area (LPA) entered Philippine territory Wednesday and is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours, the state weather bureau said.

This comes a day after deadly tropical cyclone "Urduja" left the country as it gears up for Christmas.

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

Weather forecaster Jun Galang told CNN Philippines "Balitaan" that the fast-moving LPA threatened to gain strength and dump rain in the southern Philippines.

"Dito po sa Mindanao, posible na magkakaroon ng maulan na Pasko," he said. "Pero may kabilisan naman itong bagyo na ito. Ang problema lang, kapag mabilis ang isang bagyo, 'yung impact niya ang mas malakas."

[Translation: It's possible that Mindanao will have a rainy Christmas. But the LPA is moving quite fast. The problem when a storm moves fast is that it has a stronger impact.]

 

The LPA is expected to be upgraded to a tropical depression and make landfall over northern Mindanao by Thursday night, he added.

When it becomes a tropical depression, it will be named "Vinta," said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in its 11 a.m. bulletin.

"Dahil medyo may kabilisan, maaaring bukas ng gabi, tatama na ito sa pagitan ng Davao tsaka Caraga region," Galang said.

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

Caraga comprises the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands.

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.

The LPA was spotted over the Philippine Sea, 925 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, PAGASA said.

Transport officials to inter-island bus services: Exercise caution

Because of the cyclone, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) extended the duration of special permits for buses, which allow them  to make trips outside of their authorized route.

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.

"Bus units with destinations directly affected by the typhoon and will pass through a RORO port are advised to cancel their trips and remain in their terminals until further notice," the LTFRB said, referring to buses that board roll-on, roll-off (RORO) vessels to cross from one island to another.

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

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 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.

Read: 3 confirmed casualties due to 'Nina,' relief operations ongoing