The super typhoon with an international name of Mawar slightly intensified late Friday morning as it moved westward over the Philippine Sea, state weather bureau PAGASA said.
In an 11 a.m. advisory, PAGASA said Mawar now has maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center, gustiness of up to 260 km/h, and central pressure of 905 hPa.
Mawar’s strong to typhoon-force winds extend outwards up to 550 km from the center, it added.
The super typhoon is forecast to reach its peak intensity within 24 hours, according to PAGASA. It is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday night or early Saturday morning.
Once inside PAR, Mawar will be called Betty.
At 10 a.m., PAGASA said the center of the eye Mawar was located at 1,705 kilometers east of southeastern Luzon, moving west at 20 kilometers per hour.
Mawar is expected to bring heavy rains that may trigger flooding or rain-induced landslides over northern Luzon beginning late Sunday or on Monday next week.
Strong to storm-force conditions may also be experienced over extreme northern Luzon, while strong to gale-force conditions are possible over the northern and eastern portions of Northern Luzon mainland.
PAGASA said wind signals will be raised by Saturday evening.
Mawar may also enhance the southwest monsoon or Habagat, which may bring monsoon rains over the western portions of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Visayas starting Sunday or Monday.
Although Mawar is seen to slightly weaken by Saturday evening, PAGASA said it is expected to remain as a super typhoon until Monday morning due to the highly favorable environment.
Mawar’s eye is forecast to be within 250 kilometers of the Batanes-Babuyan archipelago by next week during its slow down period.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the national government is ready to assist local government units (LGUs) that will be affected by Mawar.
"We have already warned the LGUs to prepare in case of heavy rains and flooding. So ang aming ginagawa ay we leave it to the LGUs right now to make the call kung ano ang gagawin nila," Marcos told reporters at a Philippine Navy event.
"Pero nandito lang, sinasabi namin the national government is here to assist. We are in constant contact with the local governments para makita natin what is the situation in their place," he added.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the whole government is ready for the possible impact of Mawar.
A total of 34,000 personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are ready to conduct search, rescue, and retrieval operations for possible victims the super typhoon, officials said.
Meanwhile, in preparation for Mawar, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Friday suspended several sea trips in the Visayas.
In separate advisories, the PPA said the suspended trips of Grand Ferries' Seacat One as well as ALD Sea Transport’s LCT Poseidon 17 at LCT Poseidon 35 are the following:
- May 26, 2023 - from Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte to Lipata, Surigao at 12 p.m.
- May 27, 2023 - from Cebu City to Calbayog City at 2 p.m.
- May 28, 2023 - from Calbayog City to Cebu City at 8 p.m.
The PPA said the suspensions are for the preventive maintenance work on the concerned vessels and preparation for the super typhoon.
—Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA Integrated News