'Karen' may intensify into typhoon

Posted at 09/13/2012 12:29 AM | Updated as of 09/13/2012 7:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Tropical storm “Karen” has maintained its strength as it continues to moves over water in a northwest direction, the state weather bureau said Wednesday night.

Because the storm is still over the Philippine Sea, it is expected to gain more strength and may intensify into a typhoon.

A typhoon, according to PAGASA, is classified as an intense tropical cyclone with maximum wind speed exceeding 118 kilometers per hour (kph).

Karen, meanwhile, is packing winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.

At 10 p.m., PAGASA said the storm was spotted 590 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes and was moving at a speed of 15 kph.

The storm is expected to dump moderate to heavy rains within its 550 km-diameter.

The storm is also expected to cause rains over the western section of Visayas and of Mindanao due to its effect on the southwest monsoon.

However, PAGASA said the storm is not expected to make landfall and may exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility either Saturday night or Sunday morning.

No storm warning signals have been raised so far.