By Ellalyn V. Ruiz
Tropical depression “Urduja” (international name “Kai-tak”) has slightly changed course and is expected to make landfall earlier than expected over Samar this morning, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration yesterday.
Around noon yesterday, PAGASA located Urduja at 120 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, with maximum sustained winds of 60 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
PAGASA Weather Division chief Esperanza Cayanan said Urduja was initially forecast to move northwest but slightly shifted west and is now expected to make landfall over Samar today.
Cayanan pointed out that the tail-end of cold front has been influencing the movement of the cyclone, which is moving slowly at seven kph.
She also noted that it is still possible that Urduja will intensify into a tropical storm before its expected landfall.
As it moved closer to the country, PAGASA raised tropical cyclone warning Signal No. 1 over Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Romblon, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, northern Cebu, including Bantayan Island, Capiz, Aklan, and the northern part of Iloilo.
Cayanan said Urduja will move across Samar, Masbate, Panay Island, and Palawan towards the West Philippine Sea. It could weaken into a low-pressure area while crossing these areas, she added.