Tropical Storm Saola (Bagyong Gener) has strengthened slightly overnight as it gets better organized east of Luzon. The storm was last located approximately 360km east northeast of Aparri, Cagayan. Maximum sustained winds are now at 100kph with gusts of up to 140kph. Saoala/Gener is currently moving northwestward at 15kph.
As of 5am this morning, PAGASA has kept the same Public Storm Warning Signals as yesterday. Signal #2 is still up for Cagayan, Calayan, Batanes, and Babuyan Groups of Islands. Signal #1 for Isabela, Kalinga, and Apayao. These areas will continue to see stormy conditions along with the high possibility of flash floods and landslides. Coastal areas will also see strong winds, rough waves, and possible storm surges. Coordinate with your local officials if you are in the provinces mentioned.
IR Image from NRLMRY
TS Saola (Gener) continues to get better organized with more convective bands wrapping into the dominant circulation. Northern and Eastern Luzon are now getting pounded with heavy rains from Saola and this is expected to continue throughout today. More importantly, the low pressure area (Invest 97W) that we have noted last night, continues to move across Luzon. This system is bringing widespread heavy rains across Central and Southern Luzon including Metro Manila. Many areas are now reporting more than 50mm of rain since last night and more will come. Reports of widespread urban flooding abound and a couple of dams in the region--Ipo and La Mesa--are now nearing spilling level, prompting officials to open some gates to release water. Because of this, we are getting reports of evacuations taking place especially along the riverbanks that could overflow. This is a dangerous and developing situation so please continue watching the news and coordinating with the officials for any evacuations, school cancellations, road closures, and more!
Current forecast tracks for Tropical Storm Saola remain pretty much the same. However, some agencies are now thinking that Saola will miss Taiwan entirely and instead head towards Eastern China. Model support for this idea is increasing and we may have to shift our forecast track later this afternoon. Of course, Saola's track still hinges on the strength of the ridge as well as any possible effects from Damrey. While a Fujiwhara Effect is unlikely, Damrey may still cause Saola to wobble slightly or at least influence the system to avoid Taiwan. We'll continue to monitor these developments and we'll update our forecast track, if necessary, later in our afternoon update.
Issued (2130 UTC) 530am PhT 073012