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‘Yolanda’ to hit Eastern Samar on Friday morning

Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name “Haiyan”) which has continued to move toward the country is expected to hit Guiuan, Eastern Samar Friday morning.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said Yolanda has further gained strength as it entered the country’s vicinity early Thursday.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Yolanda has maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 250 kph.

Aurelio described Yolanda as a “well-behaved” typhoon, maintaining its west-northwest movement at 30 kph.

It was located at 637 kilometers (km) east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur or 738 southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar Wednesday morning.

As the typhoon nears land, Signal No. 3 was hoisted over Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Siargao Island, and Dinagat province.

Meanwhile, Signal No. 2 was raised over Sorsogon, Masbate, Ticao Island, northern Samar, Biliran, Bantayan and Camotes Islands, northern Cebu, Bohol, Surigao del Norte, Camiguin, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del Norte.

Areas under Signal No. 1 were Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Burias Island, Romblon, Marinduque, Calamian Group of Islands, southern Quezon, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, rest of Cebu, Siquijor, Misamis Oriental, and Agusan del Sur.

After its forecast landfall over Guiuan, Eastern Samar between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Friday, the center of Yolanda will traverse Leyte, Biliran, northern tip of Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Semirara Island, southern part of Mindoro, then Busuanga, Palawan and will exit the country’s landmass on Saturday morning towards West Philippine Sea.

Aurelio said the typhoon has a wide diameter of 600 kilometers, which is as big as the whole Visayas region. Heavy to intense rains are expected in areas along the typhoon track.

By Friday afternoon or evening, Metro Manila is forecasted to experience light to moderate rains and strong winds, he warned

The eye of the typhoon will not pass through the metropolis but Aurelio said the typhoon’s closest approach to Metro Manila will be on Saturday morning, when Yolanda traverses Mindoro and Palawan.

By Saturday morning, the typhoon is expected at 122 km west of Coron, Palawan.

Due to Yolanda’s rapid movement, improving weather condition is likely on Sunday morning, Aurelio said. The typhoon is forecast at 954 km west of Manila or outside the country’s territory by Sunday morning.