Ambo intensifies into tropical storm
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MANILA, Philippines – Ambo strengthened from a tropical depression into a tropical storm on Tuesday evening, May 12, and was given the international name Vongfong.
The international name was contributed by Macau and means "wasp."
In an online briefing past 11 pm on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ambo now has maximum winds of 65 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 80 km/h from the previous 70 km/h.
Based on the latest forecast, Ambo could intensify further into a severe tropical storm as it approaches the Eastern Visayas-Bicol area. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Ambo also accelerated, now moving north at 20 km/h after being almost stationary or hardly moving earlier on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday evening, it is 455 kilometers east northeast of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, or 400 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
PAGASA said Ambo's trough or extension will bring scattered light to heavy rain to Mindanao and Eastern Visayas between Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening, May 13.
The rain from Ambo is expected to become moderate to heavy between Wednesday evening and Thursday evening, May 14, specifically in Eastern Visayas, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate.
PAGASA warned that there may be flash floods and landslides.
In terms of wind, there are still no areas under tropical cyclone wind signals as of Tuesday evening. But the state weather bureau said it may raise Signal No. 1 in Eastern Samar and in the eastern part of Northern Samar in the next 6 to 12 hours. (READ: Why is it now called tropical cyclone 'wind' – and not 'warning' – signals?)
Moderate to rough seas will also be experienced in the eastern seaboard of Bicol and the northern and eastern seaboards of Eastern Visayas in the next 24 hours. Sea travel is risky in these areas.
PAGASA earlier said Ambo could make landfall in Bicol on Thursday. It would then cross parts of Luzon, possibly affecting Metro Manila as well. A more detailed projection of the tropical storm's path is expected once it is nearer land.
Ambo is the Philippines' first tropical cyclone for 2020. The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2020)
In PAGASA's climate outlook, it gave the following estimates for the number of tropical cyclones in the next 6 months:
- May - 1 or 2
- June - 1 or 2
- July - 2 to 4
- August - 2 or 3
- September - 2 or 3
- October - 2 or 3