MANILA, Philippines — Super Typhoon Mawar has slightly intensified as it advances closer to the border of the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Friday noon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Mawar packs a mean punch with 215 kilometers per hour (kph) winds near its core, with gusts charging at 260 kph. Currently positioned 1,705 kilometers east of Southeastern Luzon, the typhoon is moving westward at 20 kph. Upon entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility, Betty will be locally renamed.

The weather bureau forecasts that Mawar will enter the PAR as a super typhoon between Friday night and Saturday morning, moving west-northwest towards Luzon by Monday or Tuesday. Mawar is unlikely to make landfall, but a slight change in its course could put northern Cagayan towns in its direct path.

If Mawar slightly shifts north, it may approach Japan’s southern islands, yet Pagasa’s models still predict potential tropical cyclone wind signals and heavy rainfall in Northern Luzon starting Sunday night or Monday morning.

“In addition, strong to storm-force conditions may be experienced over Extreme Northern Luzon, while strong to gale-force conditions are possible over the northern and eastern portions of Northern Luzon mainland,” the state weather service noted.

As a result, wind signals will be raised by tomorrow evening in preparation for these severe winds,” it added.

Apart from its own strength, Mawar is seen to enhance the southwest monsoon (locally termed habagat) which may bring rain over the western portions of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Visayas starting Sunday or Monday (May 29).