Violent “Ruby” returns to supertyphoon status

MANILA – Tropical cyclone Ruby (international name Hagupit) regained strength Friday and is again a supertyphoon, according to the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Watch Center (JTWC).

The tropical cyclone was packing 1-minute average maximum sustained winds in excess of 240 kilometers per hour (kph) and 296 kph gusts, the US military weather agency said.

The JTWC expects Ruby to reach its peak on Saturday with 250 kph sustained winds and 305 kph gusts.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center in the Asia-Pacific, agrees with the JTWC’s estimates.

It raised Ruby’s status again to a “violent typhoon,” the highest category. The JTWC said the tropical cyclone was packing 10-minute average maximum sustained winds of around 194 kph and gusts reaching more than 277 kph.

According to US weather forecasters, Ruby underwent an eyewall replacement cycle, which caused it to weaken temporarily.

The tropical cyclone reintensified again after it gained a new eyewall Friday.

The JTWC said Ruby will intensify before making landfall in Eastern Visayas in around 24 hours before weakening as it interacts with the landmass.

Its predicted track of Ruby, however, differs with other agencies. The JTWC expects the typhoon to make landfall north of Samar island, and make its way across the Bicol region, Calabarzon, and just south of Metro Manila before exiting Manila Bay and into the West Philippine Sea.

State weather bureau PAGASA, in its latest bulletin issued 11 p.m. Friday night, raised public storm warning signal number 3 over Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Samar provinces.

PAGASA said the 3 areas will experience winds of between 101-185 kph in at least 18 hours.

Public storm warning signal number 2 was raised over the following areas:

LUZON: Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate including Ticao Island

VISAYAS: Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Bantayan Island, and Camotes Island

MINDANAO: Dinagat Province

Public storm warning signal number 1 has been hoisted over:

LUZON: Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Burias Island, Romblon, Southern Quezon and Marinduque

VISAYAS: Capiz, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Aklan, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, rest of Cebu, and Bohol

MINDANAO: Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Camiguin

PAGASA said typhoon Ruby was still packing 195 kph maximum sustained winds near the center and gusts of up to 230 kph.

It expects the tropical cyclone to make landfall Saturday night or Sunday morning over the Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area.

PAGASA warned that the typhoon will bring storm surges of up to 4 meters (or more than 13 feet high) and heavy to intense rainfall within its 600 kilometer diameter.

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