Tropical storm Karen is expected to intensify and make landfall during the weekend, dumping heavy rains in several provinces.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) raised storm signal number 1 in the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, Quezon, Polilio Island, Aurora, Isabela, Quirino, Laguna, Rizal, Marinduque, Ticao and Burias Island, Masbate, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite Batangas, Metro Manila and Northern Samar.
Signal number 2 was raised over Catanduanes, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.
“Karen” was last located 205 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes, with maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 140 kph. It is forecast to gain strength before blowing out of the country o Monday.
The stormy weather forced two major airlines to cancel flights Thursday.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific cancelled flights to Legaspi, Naga, Calbayog, Catarman, Dumaguete, Surigao and from these areas to Manila.
PAL said affected passengers may rebook without penalty within 30 days. ANGELICA BALLESTEROS AND BENJIE VERGARA