International weather agencies have upgraded tropical storm (TS) Karen into a typhoon, but both local and foreign weather forecasters are in agreement that it is unlikely to make landfall in the Philippines.
However, it will still bring rain to parts of Southern Luzon and the Visayas.
PAGASA's 5:00am bulletin estimated Karen at 540km east of Virac, Catanduanes, as of 4:00am, and forecast it to continue on its current northwest track at 15kph.
A low pressure area (LPA) spotted off Bataan yesterday
has already dissipated, according to the agency.
JTWC, JMA: Karen a typhoon
PAGASA still considered Karen a tropical storm as of its morning update, as the weather system was reportedly packing maximum sustained winds of 105kph near the center and gustiness of up to 135kph. The agency defines a typhoon
as an intense tropical cyclone with maximum wind speed exceeding 118 kph.
However, the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) already consider it a typhoon.
The JMA's 5:45am update
said Karen packed maximum winds of 65 knots (120.38 kph) and gusts of up to 95 knots (175.94 kph).
On the other hand, the JTWC's update
said Karen had maximum winds of 75 knots (138.9 kph) and gusts of up to 90 knots (166.68 kph).
Karen won't land in PHL
Nevertheless, both local and foreign weather forecasters are in agreement that Karen will continue on its current track out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
"(Karen) is expected to continue tracking north-northwestward (72 hours from now). There is high confidence in this portion of the track based on the tight agreement in dynamic models," the JTWC said in its latest report as of 5:00am Philippine time
In an interview on dzBB radio, PAGASA forecaster Bernie de Leon said that Karen is not likely to make landfall in the Philippines, as it is still moving northwest and may head toward Southern Japan.
"Base sa kilos nito at sa ating numerical models inasahan natin lalabas ito ng PAR Sabado o Linggo," he said.
Rains expected in Bicol, Visayas
But de Leon added that, while there are no storm signals raised in the country due to Karen for now, its outer rain bands will affect Bicol and Eastern Visayas.
"May kalayuan ang bagyong Karen (pero) inaasahan ang outer rain bands umaabot sa Bicol at Eastern Visayas, kaya ang lugar na yan magkakaroon ng pag-ulan. At pagibayo sa habagat na magbibigay ng ulan sa Calabarzon at MIMAROPA," he said.
The PAGASA bulletin also warned that strong to gale force winds associated with Karen may affect the eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
"Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves," it said.
"Karen will continue to enhance the Southwest Monsoon or 'Habagat', bringing occasional light to moderate rains over southern Luzon and the whole of Visayas," explained GMA resident weather forecaster Nathaniel "Mang Tani" Cruz.
"The rest of the country will also have rainshowers and thunderstorms, although more isolated. In Metro Manila, partly cloudy skies with rainshowers and thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening. Gale warning is up over the eastern seaboards of central and southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, where wave height could reach five meters," he added. — TJD, GMA News