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PAGASA: Super Typhoon Mawar stronger as it approaches PAR

Supertyphoon Mawar has become stronger as it approached the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), PAGASA said on Thursday evening.

In its 11 p.m. tropical cyclone advisory, the state weather bureau said the center of the eye of Mawar was estimated at 1,840 kilometers east of southeastern Luzon at 10 p.m.

It was moving westward at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h) while packing maximum sustained winds of 205 km/h near the center, gustiness of up to 250 km/h, and central pressure of 910 hPa.

Strong to typhoon-force winds also extend outwards up to 550 km from the center, PAGASA added.

Based on its forecast track, the powerful storm is expected to continue moving westward until Friday while accelerating before turning more west-northwestward on Saturday. 

It is seen to enter PAR by Friday evening or Saturday morning and will be given the local name Betty.

Mawar is expected to reach its peak intensity within 24 to 36 hours.  It may slightly weaken by Saturday but is expected to remain a super typhoon until Sunday or early Monday due to a highly favorable environment.

Mawar will then weaken at a slightly faster rate by Monday or Tuesday due to unfavorable conditions including increasing wind shear, cooler sea surface temperature resulting from its slowdown, and dry air intrusion.

Meanwhile, heavy rains may be expected over Northern Luzon beginning late Sunday or on Monday next week due to the tropical cyclone.

Strong to storm-force conditions may likewise prevail over extreme Northern Luzon, while strong to gale-force conditions are possible over the northern and eastern portions of Northern Luzon.

This will result in the hoisting of Wind Signals by tomorrow or on Saturday in anticipation of these severe winds, the weather bureau said.

Further, Mawar is also forecast to enhance the southwest monsoon which may bring monsoon rains over the western portions of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Visayas beginning on Sunday or Monday.

Several government offices are bracing for the entry of the super typhoon, including the Office of Civil Defense, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. —NB, GMA Integrated News