A new weather disturbance described as a potentially potent storm with a 2,000 kilometer-diameter radius is feared to make the days leading to Christmas stormy and rainy.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) tracked the tropical depression (TD), as of 8 p.m. Saturday, outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) at an estimated distance of 2,330 km east of Mindanao.
For his part, retired international ship captain Norberto “Jun” Mendez expressed alarm as the forecast track showed that if the TD will maintain its projected course, it will enter PAR through Surigao del Norte and head toward Leyte, Samar and Bohol.
Mendez said the weather disturbance was located around 2,000 kilometers east of Mindanao and is feared to wreak havoc over Eastern Visayas and Bohol late this week.
If the TD does develop into a tropical storm or even a typhoon and maintain course, it could be potentially as devastating as killer typhoon Pablo which barreled through Mindanao in 2012.
The potential typhoon, like Pablo, could pack maximum sustained winds of up to of 180 kilometers per hour.
Mendez said that the storm might reach the eastern part of Visayas by December 21 or December 22, based on its forecast track.
Once it will enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the storm will be named “Vinta.”
The wide diameter of the potentially incoming cyclone poses great danger as even Supertyphoon Yolanda only had a 1,800 kilometer radius.
Mendez described the tropical depression as having started like twins that have now twined together with combined strength as a result.
Mendez said by Tuesday (December 12), the tropical depression had split into two and joined together again by Thursday.
He also compared it to Urduja which he said is only 400 kilometers in diameter.
When the new tropical depression reaches the eastern Visayas and Bohol by Thursday or Friday, it is expected to bring continuous rain and strong winds.
Mendez explained that while still beyond the PAR, the new cyclone could gain strength as it traverses the Pacific Ocean.
The new tropical depression, which could intensify into a tropical storm or even a typhoon, is thus feared to cause widespread damage.
Mendez said it will no longer dissipate because it is already a storm.
According to Mendez, the only shift that would spare Bohol is for the storm to change path toward the right. If it turns left, it would hit Davao.