MANILA -- Typhoon "Ruby" (International name "Hagupit") maintained its strength as it barreled towards the Philippines, state weather bureau PAGASA said.
In its 11 a.m. update on Friday, PAGASA said Ruby has also maintained its speed and direction, moving west northwest at 13 kilometers per hour (kph) towards Eastern Visayas.
The typhoon is expected to make landfall in Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area by Saturday evening, PAGASA said.
Ruby was located at 435 kilometers east of Borongan, Eastern Samar as of 10 a.m. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kph near the center and gusts of up to 250 kph.
It is forecast to be 120 kms east Northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar on Saturday morning; 50 kms west of Catarman, Northern Samar or 60 kms east of Masbate City, Masbate on Sunday morning; and in the vicinity of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro on Monday morning.
PAGASA forecaster Chris Perez said there may be changes in the speed of the typhoon due to several atmospheric factors. He noted that a faster movement will result in fewer rains being dumped in the typhoon's path.
Perez, nonetheless, warned that the danger being posed by the typhoon remains the same, regardless of its speed.
As expected, the typhoon's intensity is expected to decrease upon hitting land.
The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said there is still uncertainty over the exact course that the typhoon will take after making landfall in the Philippines.
''Bulk of the dynamic models have come into closer agreement on a generally westward track over the Philippines. While there is still some disagreement in the exact placement of the system, ranging between the Cagayan Valley to just north of Panay, there is better confidence in the JTWC forecast track," the JTWC said.
In its advisory issued at 11 a.m. Friday (Manila time), the typhoon is forecast to be within the vicinity of Metro Manila on December 9, Wednesday, at 8 a.m.
Public storm warning signals remain hoisted raised over 34 areas.
Public storm warning signal number 2 (winds of 61-100 kph expected in at least 24 hours) has been raised over the following areas, which PAGASA said will experience occasional rains and gusty winds:
- Ticao Island
- Northern Samar
- Eastern Samar
- Southern Leyte
- Northern Cebu including Cebu City
- Bantayan Island
- Camotes Island
Public storm warning signal number 1 (winds of 30-60 kph expected in at least 36 hours) has been raised over the following areas, where PAGASA said that residents in low-lying and mountainous areas should be alerted against possible flash floods and landslides:
- Camarines Norte
- Camarines Sur
- Burias Island
- Negros Oriental
- Negros Occidental
- Rest of Cebu
- Surigao del Sur
- Agusan del Norte
- Surigao del Norte
- Dinagat Island
- Siargao Island
- Misamis Oriental
- Agusan del Sur
- Camiguin Island
PAGASA warned areas in the typhoon's path of storm surges. It said storm surges as high as 4 meters, accompanied by strong winds and heavy to intense rainfall, shall be expected upon the typhoon's landfall in the vicinity of Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area.
Estimated rainfall amount is from 7.5-20 millimeters per hour, classified as "heavy to intense," within the 700-km diameter of typhoon Ruby.
PAGASA cautioned fishermen and those using small sea vessels against venturing out into the sea, as there will be rough to very rough sea conditions in the seaboard of Northern Luzon, the eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon, the seaboards of Visayas and over the northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao.