9 areas under signal No. 1

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    NINE areas were placed under signal No. 1 yesterday after a low pressure area monitored off Catanduanes intensified into a tropical depression.

    “Pepito” was forecast to intensify into a tropical storm before making landfall tonight or tomorrow morning in the northern Luzon-Central Luzon area, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

    As of 4 p.m. yesterday, Pepito was some 410 km east of Virac in Catanduanes. It was moving west northwest at 20 kph, packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 70 kph.

    Areas under signal No. 1 as of 5 p.m. yesterday were Isabela, Aurora, Quirino, eastern portion of Kalinga, eastern portion of Mountain Province, Ifugao, eastern portion of Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, and the northern portion of Quezon.

    PAGASA said Pepito, after crossing Luzon, “may further intensify over the West Philippine Sea and may reach severe tropical storm category by Thursday.»

    It also said light to moderate with at times heavy rains may be experienced in Quezon province, Mindanao, and the Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Central Visayas regions.

    Flooding (including flashfloods) and rain-induced landslides may occur during heavy or prolonged rainfall especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards,» PAGASA said.