Tropical cyclone may enter Philippines on Pope's arrival

Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2015 - 1:14pm

MANILA, Philippines - A low pressure area (LPA) may intensify into a tropical depression and enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on the same day Pope Francis arrives in the country, the state weather bureau said.

In its weekly weather outlook, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the LPA is expected to strengthen into Tropical Depression "Amang" on Thursday as it enters the PAR in a west-northwest direction.

PAGASA said Amang will bring moderate to strong winds and moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms to Eastern Visayas and Bicol on Thursday. Luzon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with light rains especially over the eastern section while Mindanao and the rest of Visayas will have cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms.

By Friday and Saturday, Amang is expected to slowly approach the Bicol region in a north-northwest direction. It will bring heavy to occasionally intense rains and gusty winds over the region and Eastern Visayas, including Tacloban and Palo in Leyte.

During these days, Metro Manila, Calabarzon and the rest of Visayas will experience cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains while the rest of Luzon will have cloudy skies with light rains.

Amang is expected to weaken by Sunday and Monday as it traverses the eastern seaboard of Luzon, PAGASA said. It will bring cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rains and gusty winds over Metro Manila, the Bicol region, Calabarzon, Cagayan Valley and the provinces of Aurora, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

Visayas including Tacloban and Palo in Leyte and the rest of Luzon will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday.

PAGASA noted that the weekly forecast may still be updated due to possible significant changes in the weather pattern.

Eastern Visayas

Accuweather.com said the approaching cyclone may make a slight turn to the north but its landfall in the Philippines would still be likely.

The weather agency said Eastern Visayas may experience Amang's worst impacts from Saturday until Saturday night, the days when Pope Francis is expected to make several appearances in the region.

"Pope Francis will be making a tour across parts of the Philippines from Thursday through Monday, and although his itinerary is already laid out, this storm could force changes to the schedule," meteorologist Eric Leister said.

Accuweather.com said Amang is not expected to become a large and devastating typhoon.

Pope Francis is set to arrive in the country on Thursday afternoon and meet President Aquino, government and church officials on Friday.

On Saturday, he will visit Yolanda-hit Tacloban and conduct a holy mass. He will also meet with typhoon victims and local priests and seminarians.

The pontiff will return to Manila on Sunday and lead a motorcade and holy mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, which is expected to be attended by millions.

Pope Francis will leave for Rome, Italy on Monday.

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