Tropical Storm "Saudel" (Pepito) intensifies ahead of landfall over Aurora, Philippines

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm "Saudel" -- named Pepito in the Philippines -- is slowly intensifying before its expected landfall over Aurora Province, Philippines, between 10:00 and 14:00 UTC (18:00 to 22:00 LT) on October 20, 2020. Saudel is the 17th named storm of the 2020 Pacific typhoon season.

On October 16, an area of convection was tracked by the JTWC east-southeast of Palau. The system was upgraded into a tropical depression by October 18. PAGASA then declared it a tropical storm hours later as the system approached Northern Luzon, giving it the name Pepito. JMA upgraded it to Tropical Storm "Saudel" later in the day.

As of 08:00 UTC (16:00 LT), the center of the storm was about 110 km (68 miles) E of Baler, packing winds of 75 km/h (47 mph) and gusts up to 90 km/h (56 mph). It was moving west-northwestward at 30 km/h (19 mph).

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal Number 2 was issued for much of Luzon: La Union, Pangasinan, Ifugao, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Aurora, the southern portion of Isabela, the southern portion of Ilocos Sur, the northern areas of Zambales, and the northern areas of Quezon Province.

Signal Number 1 was issued for Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Metro Manila, Rizal, Infanta, Real, and the rest of Zambales.

saudel-track

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Image credit: JTWC

Tropical Storm "Saudel" at 10:20 UTC on October 20, 2020. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA

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The storm will bring moderate to heavy rains over Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Camarines Norte, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, mainland Cagayan, La Union, Pangasinan, and Benguet on Tuesday through Wednesday, October 20 through 21.

"Light to moderate with at times heavy rains will be experienced over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Bangsamoro," PAGASA said, warning of flooding and landslides "especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards."

Several areas already reported landslides, flooding, and wind damage. In Guinayangan, Quezon Province, heavy rains triggered landslides and caused rivers to overflow. In Marikina City, strong winds caused trees to collapse in a house and two vehicles.

Gale Warning is in force over the seaboards of Batanes, Cagayan, and Ilocos Norte and the western seaboards of Batangas and Occidental Mindoro, due to rough to very rough seas. PAGASA warned of risky sea travel over the said area.

The storm is forecast to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday afternoon, October 22.

It is expected to arrive in central Vietnam on Saturday, bringing more intense rains and worsening the current situation as the region is still reeling from the consequences of severe weather since early October.

Featured image credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA. Acquired 08:30 UTC on October 20, 2020.

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