PAGASA: 'Basyang' an 'unusual' storm

Posted at 07/14/10 5:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) admitted on Wednesday that tropical cyclone "Basyang" was a most “unusual” storm.

Weather forecasters originally expected Basyang to swerve to the northwest, hitting provinces in northern Luzon.

But as the storm landed over Tayabas, Quezon on Tuesday night, it followed a westerly route instead, eventually smashing into the National Capital Region.

Many Metro Manila residents were caught by surprise when Basyang unleashed its fury overnight, causing a massive blackout over the entire Luzon grid.

According to PAGASA administrator Prisco Nilo, typhoons during this time of year usually move to the northwest. However, a high pressure area over Hong Kong may have caused Basyang to change direction.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Basyang was spotted 180 kilometers (km) west of Iba, Zambales. It was moving northwest at a speed of 19 km per hour (kph).

The storm has weakened slightly, with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gusts of 100 kph.

The weather is expected to improve throughout Wednesday as the storm leaves the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

Basyang is the second tropical cyclone to hit the country this year.

PAGASA expects around 13 typhoons in 2010.