FALCON, the 6th typhoon to enter the country this year, has intensified into a tropical storm and heavy rains in northern areas are expected until Thursday. Weather bureau PAGASA, in its 5 p.m. bulletin on Tuesday, said moderate to heavy rains will be experienced over Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan Valley, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Zambales, Occidental Mindoro, northern Palawan, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, and Guimaras until Wednesday. The rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, and the rest of the Visayas will have “light to moderate with at times heavy rains.” On Thursday, moderate to heavy rains may still prevail over Ilocos, CAR, and Cagayan Valley while Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa may have light to occasional heavy rains. Falcon, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph, is expected to closely approach or make landfall over the Babuyan-Batanes Islands area by Wednesday evening. Apart from Falcon, the southwest monsoon has also been bringing rains in parts of the country.