Storm warning signals up as storm 'Helen' intensifies

(UPDATE 2) The weather bureau has raised public storm warning signals on Monday over several provinces in Northern Luzon as tropical storm Helen (international name Kai-tak) is expected to continue to bring heavy to torrential rains and strong winds over the area.

"Tropical storm Helen has maintained its strength and continues to threaten Northern Luzon," the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its 5 p.m. update.

Public storm warning signal number one has been raised in the provinces of Isabela, Quirino, Aurora, Kalinga, Apayao, Cagayan, including the Babuyan, Calayan and Batanes group of islands. 

Winds in the areas are expected at 30 to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) within the next 36 hours, Pagasa said.

In an earlier update, Pagasa said: "Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signal number one are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides."

Related Link: Pagasa Hourly updates are available here.

"Sea travel of small seacrafts and fishing boats is risky," Pagasa said further.

Helen is also expected to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains over Luzon and Visayas especially over the western sections.

It also forecast more frequent moderate to heavy rains toward the evening over Metro Manila and the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Quezon, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas Mindoro, Bataan, and Zambales.

Pagasa said Helen, spotted 430 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora 4 p.m. Monday, has maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

Helen will likely move west northwest at 13 kph, and is expected to be at 210 kilometers east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan by Tuesday afternoon; 80 kilometers south southwest of Basco, Batanes by Wedsnesday afternoon.

By Thursday afternoon, it is expected to be at 310 kilometers northwest of Basco, Batanes, Pagasa said.

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