A tropical storm approaching intensified as it entered Philippine territory before dawn Thursday, with state weather forecasters saying it may threaten Northern Luzon this weekend.
Department of Science and Technology undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr. said there is a chance the tropical storm, locally codenamed "Quiel," may intensify into a typhoon before making landfall.
"Si Tropical Storm Quiel ay nasa loob ng Philippine area of responsibility. Lumakas na siya, with maximum sustained winds of 105 kph na may dalang bugso ng 135 kph," he said in a 5:30 a.m. interview on dzBB radio.
But he said Quiel is still too far to directly affect any part of the country, saying it is not likely to affect the archipelago until Sunday.
Yumul also said it is likely Quiel may intensify into a typhoon while inside Philippine territory.
He pointed out the cyclone can still gather strength as it is still at sea.
"If its winds are greater by just 13 kph it would reach typhoon category," he said.
Yumul said Quiel is likely to head for the Aparri-Cagayan area, adding their consensus forecast indicates it may affect Cagayan and Isabela.
PAGASA's 5 a.m. advisory said that as of 4 a.m., Quiel was estimated at 1,240 km east of Aparri, Cagayan.
It packed maximum sustained winds of 105 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 135 kph.
PAGASA said Quiel is expected to move west at 10 kph and be 1,050 km east of Aparri, Cagayan Friday morning; and 750 km east of Aparri, Cagayan Saturday morning.
By Sunday morning it is expected to be 400 km east of Aparri, Cagayan.
However, no storm signals have been raised yet as Quiel is still too far to directly affect any part of the country, PAGASA said. — LBG, GMA News