Tropical storm CHEDENG

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines -  The tropical depression over the Pacific Ocean intensified into a storm yesterday and is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility on the weekend, the state weather bureau said.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of storm with international name "Songda" was spotted at 1,050 kilometers east of Northern Mindanao.
It packed winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.
Songda was forecast to move west-northwest at 11 kph.
"This weather disturbance is still outside the Philippine area of responsibility and is expected to enter tonight (Sunday) or early tomorrow (Monday) morning," the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in an advisory.
The cyclone will be given the local name "Chedeng" once it enters the country, PAGASA said.
PAGASA weather branch chief Robert Sawi and Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said the storm is expected to intensify into a typhoon before hitting the country.
But the officials said its effects may be felt starting Wednesday in the Visayas, particularly Samar.
"It will pull the southwest monsoon up starting Wednesday which will bring rains over Mindanao, then Mindoro, all the way to the NCR (National Capital Region)," Yumul said.
He said the storm is expected to make landfall over the Cagayan-Isabela area on Friday if it maintains its present speed and direction.
Yumul said Chedeng is likely to trigger the onset of the rainy season associated with the southwest monsoon.
The southwest monsoon officially starts the rainy season in the country.
Sawi warned the new weather disturbance could be stronger than tropical storm "Bebeng."
Bebeng, which entered the country last May 7, left 35 persons dead and damage to property worth P1.37 billion.
For the next 24 hours, PAGASA said Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao would experience mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to the inter-tropical convergence zone.
The rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening due to warm weather, PAGASA said. 

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