Aghon May 27
Cyclone signal No. 2 was hoisted over several provinces in Northern Luzon, the weather bureau Pagasa reported that Aghon is now packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kph, with gusts reaching up to 170 kph. Image Credit: Pagasa | DOST

Manila: Typhoon Aghon, the first of the year, intensified on Monday, prompting the Philippine weather bureau to hoist Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 2 in several areas of Luzon. The storm (international name "Ewiniar") has already left a trail of destruction in southern Luzon.

Pagasa reported that Aghon is now packing maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h near the centre, with gusts reaching up to 170 km/h.

Aghon Quezon
The Quezon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office conducted a rescue operation in Barangay Kanlurang Mayao in Lucena City due to the flooding caused by Typhoon on Sunday, May 26. Image Credit: Provincial Government of Quezon

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In its 8 am bulletin, the bureau warned that gale-force winds could impact areas under TCWS No. 2, including southeastern Isabela (Dinapigue, Palanan), northern Aurora (Baler, Dipaculao, Dinalungan, Dilasag, Casiguran), and Polillo Islands.

On Sunday, some 60,000 individuals were reportedly relocated to safer ground in Lucena City in Quezon Province due to effects of Aghon, according to the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office on Sunday.

The city was placed under the state of calamity. Photos were shared by The Luzonian and the Provincial Government of Quezon.

According to local media reports, at least 19 sea-side houses in Barangay V at VII in Tanza, Cavite (south of Manila) were destroyed by the strong winds. At east 26 families, or 83 individuals were moved to a nearby evacuation centre, according to Tanza emergency workers.

There were also reports of death, but authorities are still confirming the numbers.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has also upgraded Aghon to a tropical storm, giving its international name "Ewiniar". It is the first named storm in the Western Pacific basin this year.

Provinces affected on Monday

Another bulletin, issued at 11 am on Monday, states that Aghon maintained its strength while moving north-eastward over the Philippine Sea.

The typhoon was last tracked over the coastal waters of Casiguran, Aurora, moving north-northeast at 10 km/h and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Wednesday.

Areas under TCWS No. 1, such as parts of Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, and Camarines Norte, will also experience strong winds.

Aghon flood in the Philippines
A flood-hit community in the Philippines following heavy rains dumped by storm Aghon on Sunday. A gale warning is in effect for the coastal waters of Cagayan (southern portion), Isabela, Aurora, and northern Quezon, including the Polillo Islands, with a moderate to rough sea forecast for eastern Cagayan and northern Bicol.

Pagasa advised that sea travel is risky for small seacraft, including “motorbancas” (also known locally as “kumpit”).

Mariners are urged to take precautionary measures due to the risk of storm surge in exposed coastal areas of Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, and Polillo Islands.

Domestic flights cancelled

On Monday, the official Philippine News Agency reported that at least six domestic flights were canceled due to the typhoon: CebGo flights DG 6031/6032 (Manila-San Jose-Manila), DG 6113/6114, and DG 6117/6118 (Manila-Naga-Manila).

A satellite image of Tropical depression Aghon on May 25.
A satellite image of Tropical depression Aghon on May 25. Image Credit: Himawari/Bloomberg

Located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific, the Philippines is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, about five of which can be destructive.