Only Palawan under signal no. 1 ahead of Urduja's 6th landfall
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak) maintained its strength before dawn on Monday, December 18, ahead of its expected 6th landfall in northern Palawan.
In a bulletin issued 5 am on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Urduja is already 195 kilometers east northeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, moving west at a slightly faster 18 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 17 km/h.
The tropical depression has maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 75 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)
Only Palawan remains under signal number 1. PAGASA said scattered rains will persist in northern Palawan, including the Calamian Group of Islands. Residents "must undertake appropriate measures against flooding and landslides and coordinate with their local disaster risk reduction and management offices."
Sea travel is also not advised in Palawan. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
So far, Urduja has made landfall 5 times:
- San Policarpo, Eastern Samar – 1:30 pm, Saturday, December 16
- Mobo, Masbate – 10 am, Sunday, December 17
- Sibuyan Island – 12 noon, Sunday, December 17
- Malay, Aklan – 6 pm, Sunday, December 17
- Cuyo Island, Palawan – 11 pm, Sunday, December 17
Urduja, which was earlier a tropical storm before weakening into a tropical depression, left at least 3 people dead and 19 others injured, based on data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). But in the province of Biliran alone, the local government said landslides left at least 26 people dead.
Urduja dumped heavy rain that triggered floods and landslides as well as disrupted travel, with its effects first felt in Eastern Visayas. (LOOK: Houses in Eastern Samar flooded due to Urduja)
Below are the top 5 areas which received the most rainfall in terms of millimeters (mm) last Friday, December 15.
- Catarman, Northern Samar – 347.4 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 628.2 mm)
- Catbalogan, Samar – 331.2 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 322.7 mm)
- Juban, Sorsogon – 162 mm (no amount given for normal monthly rainfall)
- Borongan, Eastern Samar – 155 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 674.8 mm)
- Guiuan, Eastern Samar – 109.6 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 440.1 mm)
In a 24-hour period that began last Thursday, December 14, Guiuan had received nearly two months' worth of rainfall in just one day, making it the hardest-hit overall, so far.
In a statement on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave an assurance that "vital services, such as preparedness and response to disasters or calamities shall continue with their operations even during holidays."
Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a stockpile of 368,000 family food packs worth P223 million, food and non-food items worth P393 million, and available standby funds amounting to P245 million.
Based on its latest forecast track, Urduja will leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday, December 19.
Vinta after Urduja
Aside from Urduja, PAGASA is also monitoring a tropical depression located 1,650 kilometers east of Mindanao, still outside PAR. It has maximum winds of 40 km/h and gustiness of up to 50 km/h.
The tropical depression will be given the local name Vinta once it enters PAR on Friday, December 22.
Asked how strong Vinta would be, PAGASA forecaster Aldczar Aurelio had said on Sunday: "Wala pa tayong data para doon pero inaasahan nating lalakas ito....Kitang-kita 'nyo malayo pa lang itong bagyo, kitang-kita ninyo dagat ito at dito siya dadaan bago tumama sa lupa so makakaipon siya ng lakas....Kung aabot ng typhoon 'di natin masabi sa ngayon, pero ang importante po paghandaan po natin 'yung panibagong bagyo na nasa labas ng Philippine Area of Responsibility."
(We still don't have data for that but we expect it to strengthen....As you can see, this tropical cyclone is still far from the country, it's still over water and it will pass through water before hitting land so it can still gain strength....Whether it will reach typhoon category we can't say yet, but what's important is that we should prepare for this new tropical cyclone that is outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility.)
Vinta will likely affect the Visayas and Mindanao, having a track similar to Urduja, added Aurelio.
Meanwhile, PAGASA warned that the tail-end of a cold front is also bringing light to heavy rain to Calabarzon, Bicol, Aurora, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon on Monday. Residents of these areas should watch out for possible flash floods.
The northeast monsoon is also affecting the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, which is experiencing scattered rainshowers.
The Visayas and Mindanao will only have isolated thunderstorms. – Rappler.com