High Wind Watch

Tropical depression to bring flood risk to Philippines in final days of 2018

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 29, 2018, 11:20:26 PM EST

Flooding rainfall will continue to fall across the northern and western Philippines as a tropical depression moves through the region into Sunday.

The tropical depression churning across the Philippines was given the local name of Usman earlier this past week. When named by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), the official issuing agency in the western Pacific basin, it will be called Pabuk.

The JMA will designate it as Pabuk if it gains tropical storm strength, which AccuWeather meteorologists anticipate will happen once the storm enters the South China Sea early next week.

Flooding rainfall will be the biggest concern and residents of Palawan and eastern Luzon will be at the highest risk for downpours through Sunday.

From Friday into Saturday, Catarman, Philippines, received 470 mm (18.5 inches) of rain in less than 48 hours.

Rainfall also topped 300 mm (12 inches) in Alabat and Legazpi City.

Usman 12/29

Usman is not forecast to depart the Philippines until Sunday after it crosses Palawan.

"Due to the slow movement, heavy rain and flooding are the biggest threats from this storm," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

Rivers and streams can overflow their banks and inundate neighboring land and communities. There is also a risk of mudslides in areas of higher terrain.

Remember never to drive through flooded roads to avoid a potentially deadly situation. Air travel can have some cancellations or delays.

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Manila faced occasional downpours Friday night into Saturday. A few downpours are still possible into Sunday; however, the risk for flooding will be minimal.

After impacting the Philippines, Usman will move into the South China Sea to close out 2018. A brief period of strengthening, potentially to tropical storm strength, is expected as the storm remains over the open water early next week.

A turn toward the southwest will take the storm just south of Vietnam during the middle of next week and a direct hit is not forecast at this time.

Heavy rain may still spread into central and southern Vietnam at the start of the new year, raising the risk for flash flooding and mudslides.

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