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New storm off PH

A new tropical cyclone still outside the country’s area of responsibility could follow the same track as typhoon “Ferdie” (international name “Meranti”) that became one of the most intense tropical cyclones on record and put Batanes under state of calamity.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration said the tropical depression was estimated at 2,035 kilometers east of Mindanao. It has maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour and forecast to move west-northwest relatively fast at 35 kph.

PAGASA said the depression is expected to enter the country’s vicinity by tomorrow and will be given a local name of “Helen,” the fourth tropical cyclone to enter the country’s area of responsibility this month and eighth this year.

PAGASA weather forecaster Benison Estareja said the weather disturbance could intensify into a tropical storm within the next 24 to 48 hours and further strengthen into a typhoon inside the country’s vicinity.

He noted that PAGASA is currently considering two scenarios.

First, the tropical cyclone will continue to move west-northwest and cross Batanes or the extreme Northern Luzon en route to southern China. This is almost the same route taken by Ferdie.

Second, the depression will move close to Batanes but will recurve towards southern Japan. (Ellalyn B. de Vera)