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‘Gardo’ weakens

By ELLALYN RUIZ

Typhoon “Gardo” (international name “Maria”) is gradually weakening, having reached its peak intensity after traversing the Philippine Sea for more than a week.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) first spotted Gardo as a low pressure area (LPA) east of Mindanao last July 3. It intensified into a tropical depression on July 4.

By morning of July 5, it was already a tropical storm, rapidly intensifying into a severe tropical storm in the afternoon.
By July 6, it became a strong cyclone under the typhoon category.

Before starting to gradually weaken in the afternoon of July 9, Gardo reached its maximum strength of 200 kilometers per hour (kph) sustained winds and 245 kph of gusts around Monday noon.

Around mid-Tuesday (July 10), Gardo further showed decline in strength but remained a typhoon. It has maximum sustained winds of 170 kph and gustiness of up to 210 kph.

Gardo was at 635 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

According to PAGASA weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio, Gardo will be outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Wednesday but will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon or habagat.

The typhoon is currently moving west-northwest at 30 kph.

Monsoon rains will prevail over Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, northern Palawan and Romblon.

Aurelio said the LPA near Vietnam is also enhancing the habagat causing rains to concentrate over these areas.

Occasional rains will prevail over Metro Manila, Western Visayas, and the rest of Central Luzon, and of southern Luzon until Wednesday.

Residents of these areas, especially those living in low-lying and mountainous areas, are advised to take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslides resulting from heavy rains.

Meanwhile, sea travel remains risky over the northern and eastern seaboards of Northern Luzon.

PAGASA is also monitoring a cluster of clouds east of Mindanao, which has a chance of becoming a low pressure area (LPA).

The cloud cluster is still outside the PAR but will likely move west and enter the country, and contribute to the enhancement of the southwest monsoon. The habagat will continue to affect Luzon and Visayas over the weekend, Aurelio said.

He added that the cluster of clouds could further develop into a cyclone towards the end of the week.

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