Public storm warning signals issued for 48 geographic areas, spanning from southeastern portions of Luzon (the main northern island) through the Visayas (central Philippines) and northeastern parts of Mindanao (the main southern island).
The island of Samar in the Visayas nearest the initial arrival of the landfall was raised to Public Storm Warning Signal No. 3, meaning winds of 100-185 kph (62 to 115 mph) are expected "in at least 18 hours." These winds are capable of considerable damage to structures of light-medium construction, widespread disruption to power and communications services, and moderate to heavy damage to trees and crops. Included in this warning are Masbate, Ticao Island, Sorsogon, Albay, Burias Island, and Romblon.
PAGASA also placed a large part of this region in Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2, meaning 61 to 100 kph (38 to 62 mph) are possible "in at least 24 hours", including Metro Cebu, the second-largest metropolitan area in the country after Metro Manila. Also included in signal number 2 are Catanduanes, the Camarines, Batangas, Lubang Island, and Mindoro. Leyte Island, which includes Tacloban City, is also under this level of alert.
Metro Manila has now been placed under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1, meaning winds of 30-60 kph (up to 37 mph) are possible "in at least 36 hours." This storm signal may be raised by Monday.
In general, a tropical cyclone's rainfall potential depends on how slowly it moves, not its intensity. Hagupit will be moving along very slowly over an area with rugged terrain. As a result, rainfall totals could be extraordinarily high -- locally exceeding 2 feet -- leading to landslides, debris flows, and life-threatening flash floods.
In fact, over a foot of rain has already fallen in Catbalogan, which is located on the eastern island of Samar. As of 12:30 a.m. ET Saturday, 365 millimeters (14.4 inches) of rain has fallen at the observation station within a 24 hour period. Borongan also picked up 355.6 mm (14 inches).
Just three years ago in December 2011, Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) dumped tremendous rainfall on the island of Mindanao, causing massive floods that killed 1,268 people. Winnie was only of tropical depression strength when it triggered deadly flooding in late Nov. 2004.
Over the past 10 years, six separate tropical cyclones have claimed over 1,000 lives in the Philippines, including:
- Haiyan/Yolanda Nov. 2013: Over 7,300 killed (AP)