(Updated 8:30 p.m.) The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Friday it raised public Storm Signal No. 1 over Eastern Samar as “Butchoy” moved closer from the Pacific Ocean.
In its latest severe weather bulletin, the state weather bureau said “Tropical Storm “Butchoy” has maintained its strength as it moves closer to Eastern Samar.”
Thirty to 60 kph winds are expected to blow into Eastern Samar within the next 36 hours, according to PAGASA.
“Butchoy” is packing maximum sustained winds of 110 kph and gustiness of up to 140 kph, moving west northwest at slower pace of 11 kph–from 20-25 kph Thursday. Butchoy was met by a high pressure area developing in its northeast and a low pressure area southeast of mainland China, senior weather forecaster Mario Palafox said in an interview with GMA News’ “24 Oras,” explaining what caused the storm to slow down.
Slow-moving storm PAGASA said Butchoy will dump 15 to 25 mm rains per hour. This is heavy, noted forecaster Mario Palafox in an interview with GMA News’ “24 Oras.”
The storm’s diameter also widened to 450 km from 350 km. A slow-moving storm is dangerous, the forecaster hinted.
“Pag bumagal po kasi itong bagyo ay nakakakuha po ito ng lakas mula sa dagat. At maaaring madagdagan po ang dami ng ulan na makukuha niya o madadala niya,” he said.
Still, Palafox said “Butchoy” is less harmful than Tropical Storm Ondoy which hit the country in September 2009. Ondoy dumped rains at the rate of 28 mm per hour at a time when the soil was already so damp from at least three weeks of steady rain.
“Sa ngayon po, mas marami pa rin po ‘yung ulan na dala ni “Ondoy” noon kaysa sa dala ngayon ni “Butchoy.” Hindi naman po natin ito aasahan na tumama sa lupa kaya mas kakaunti po talaga ang maibibigay niyang ulan,” he said.
PAGASA has yet to categorize Butchoy–also know by its international name Guchol–as a typhoon, but the US Navy-Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center already considered "Butchoy" a typhoon as of Friday. PAGASA and JWTC uses different methods in measuring storms.
“Ang ginagamit po kasi ng JWTC ay ‘yung tinatawag na one-minute average po sa pagkuha ng windspeed. Ang ginagamit po ng PAGASA ay yung ten-minute average po kaya mas mataas po ang kuha ng JTWC ng mga ten percent po as compared po sa kuha ng PAGASA,” the senior weather forecaster noted. 'Butchoy' and the southwest monsoon PAGASA predicted “Butchoy will be 330 km East of Borongan, Eastern Samar on Saturday, and 410 km East Southeast of Casiguran, Aurora Sunday afternoon.
The storm is expected to be at 320 km Southeast of Basco, Batanes on Monday.
“Butchoy” is not expected make landfall. However, senior weather specialist Daisy Ortega said the storm is intensifying the southwest monsoon parked in the west and pouring rain over the western parts of the Philippines.
“Kahit hindi maglalandfall itong si ‘Butchoy,’ habang papataas siya pinag-iibayo niya ang hanging Habagat na nagbibigay sa atin ngayon ng malakas na ulan,” she in a phone interview with GMA News Online.
Fishermen using small boats should not sail along the eastern seaboard due to strong waves generated by confluence of “Butchoy” and the southwest monsoon, said PAGASA. —VS, GMA News