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Tropical storm “Chedeng” continued to hurtle toward the Philippines with increased strength, threatening to become a “super-typhoon” and end the summer season with rolls of thunder and heavy rains, the state weather bureau said on Monday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Chedeng (international name: Songda) was seen to strengthen into a typhoon in the next 24 hours and bring strong winds, thunderstorms, and moderate to heavy rains all over the country.

Robert Sawi, Pagasa’s chief forecaster, said Chedeng “is so far the strongest tropical cyclone to enter the country this year.” As of 10 a.m. on Monday, Pagasa said Chedeng, the third tropical cyclone of the year, was still at open sea, about 795 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

It was carrying maximum sustained winds at 95 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph. Sawi said Chedeng, which was moving west northwest at 15 kph, could reach over 100 kph in wind strength. No storm warning signals were raised as of Monday afternoon, although Pagasa officials said they have advised local disaster coordinating councils to take appropriate actions.

Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr. said Chedeng could gather more strength in its approach to the country. “Chedeng could still intensify into a super-typhoon,” he told reporters in a briefing. A super-typhoon is the unofficial name for typhoons over 150 kph. The last “super-typhoon” that visited the country was Juan, which carried winds up to 290 kph, in October 2010.

Yumul added that the storm could fulfill the weather requirements that would compel Pagasa to declare the onset of the wet season. According to Pagasa officials, Chedeng’s effects will be widespread, warning that the eastern seaboard could bear the brunt of the storm’s strength. They added that other parts of the country would experience rains and strong winds due to the potential typhoon.

“The eastern seaboard will be directly affected by the storm but it will also enhance the southwest monsoon which will bring rains over the western seaboard… the western seaboard will be extremely wet from Wednesday to Friday. The whole country has to prepare,” Yumul said.

The Samar-Negros regions will be the first to feel the heavy rains from Chedeng on Wednesday. As Chedeng moves north, stormy weather will prevail Bicol Region, Quezon, Quirino and Aurora on Thursday and in Cagayan-Isabela Aurora on Friday. Based on current models, Yumul said Chedeng could make landfall in Cagayan-Isabela area on Friday.

Metro Manila and Central Luzon, although not in the direct path of Chedeng, will experience moderate to heavy rains starting Thursday night from the enhanced southwest monsoon, according to Pagasa. The arrival of Chedeng could herald the end of the dry season and the start of the wet season, Pagasa said. The storm could aid the development and enhancement of the southwest monsoon, the main seasonal feature of the rainy season in the Philippines.

Yumul said Pagasa has been instructed to strictly monitor the amount of rainfall to be produced by Chedeng. For the agency to declare the arrival of the wet season, at least half of the 10 rainfall stations in Luzon and Visayas must have a total of 25 mm rainfall for five consecutive days. Chedeng could dump 20 to 55 millimeters of rainfall per hour, Yumul said. The predicted maximum amount of rainfall from Chedeng is close to the 56 mm per hour rainfall brought by tropical storm “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana) in September 2009.

These weather features – the dominance of the southwest monsoon and the significant amount of rainfall – showed that summer has been winding down, Pagasa said. “Collectively considering the above conditions, the widespread rains observed in the past few days and with the expected impact of Tropical Storm Chedeng (which strongly suggests to influence and enhance the southwest monsoon) it has become imperative to announce the imminent onset of the rainy season,” Pagasa said.

As of 2 p.m. on Monday, Pagasa said Chedeng, the third tropical cyclone of the year, was still at open sea, about 720 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.