Residents of the Philippines are being put on alert for possible future impacts from Tropical Depression 05W, which is on pace to strengthen into a tropical storm and even a typhoon.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak is especially concerned for impacts across the southern Philippines given how unusually far south in the western Pacific Ocean the depression developed.
"[The southern Philippines] do not get hit by tropical systems very often," stated Wanenchak. The majority of tropical storms and typhoons form too far to the north to take aim at these islands.
Wanenchak expects the depression's track, through the point of landfall, to mirror Super Typhoon Bopha from late 2012 closely. Bopha slammed into the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
The good news is that a repeat of Bopha's super typhoon status is not expected. However, the warm waters of the Pacific and the absence of disruptive wind shear will allow the depression to strengthen into a tropical storm.
The depression will likely further intensity into a minimal typhoon, becoming the first typhoon of the year to threaten the Philippines.
"The only thing working against the depression strengthening is its close proximity to the equator, but that has not hindered it yet," according to Wanenchak.
He continued, "If the depression becomes a tropical storm before crossing the 2nd parallel north, it would be the fourth closest tropical storm/typhoon to the equator in recorded history."
Typhoon Vamei sits at the top of that list in the Northern Hemisphere when it formed at 1.5 degrees north latitude in late December 2001.
The depression is likely to threaten the southern Philippines around Tuesday of next week as a tropical storm or minimal typhoon.
One scenario is that the system will cross the southern Philippines with the dangers of flooding rain, damaging winds, pounding surf and coastal flooding.
Another scenario is that the system stalls just before reaching the southern Philippines or curves northward along the coast. Even though landfall would be avoided in this case, the system should still come close enough to drench the eastern Philippines with torrential rain and heighten concerns for flash flooding.