MANILA, Philippines --- The weather disturbance over Northern Mindanao has developed into a tropical depression and was locally named "Auring" on Thursday morning. This is the first of about 19 to 20 tropical cyclones expected in the country this year.
Tropical depression "Auring" was located at 190 kilometers (km) southeast of Puerto Princesa City Thursday afternoon, according to Aldczar Aurelio, forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
Aurelio said the cyclone, which has maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph), is moving quickly westward at about 28 kph.
Signal No. 1 was hoisted over Palawan, as "Auring" traversed the Sulu Sea towards the southern tip of Palawan.
Other areas earlier placed under public storm warning signal has been lifted.
Aurelio said "Auring" could still intensify as it traverses the Sulu Sea towards the southern tip of Palawan Thursday afternoon.
The tropical depression is expected at 440 km southwest of Puerto Princesa City or outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Friday afternoon.
Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, areas which were recently hit by storms, will be cloudy with light to moderate rains until Sunday.
Meanwhile, northeast monsoon or "hanging amihan" will affect Northern Luzon and will bring cloudy with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms over Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.
Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Aurora will experience cloudy skies with light rains, while the rest of Luzon will be partly cloudy with brief rain showers or thunderstorms. (Ellalyn B. De Vera)
As this developed, an inter-island ferry ran aground on Thursday at the rough sea off Dumaguete City, affecting 242 passengers as a result of tropical depression "Auring."
Initial information from Coast Guard headquarters in Manila showed that MV Zamboanga ferry ran aground at 10 a.m. "because of big waves while maneuvering to dock at the Dumaguete Port."
"Transfer was ongoing using rubber boats," Coast Guard authorities said.
The ferry departed from Zamboanga, one of the provinces affected by the bad weather.
The PCG said onboard the vessel were 228 passengers and its 14 crew members.
Of this number, 34 of them were brought to Philippine Ports Authority terminal by rescuers from various agencies.
Dumaguete residents also helped in the rescue mission of passengers aboard MV Zamboanga ferry.
The PCG said all vessel operations both in Dumaguete and Zamboanga were suspended as well as those in other provinces affected by the tropical depression. (With a report from Raymund F. Antonio)