MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-tak) slightly accelerated late Saturday morning, December 16, ahead of its expected landfall in the afternoon. It is now threatening the Samar and Sorsogon area.
In a bulletin issued 11 am on Saturday, PAGASA said Urduja is already 75 kilometers north northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar or 120 kilometers east southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar, moving west at a faster 15 kilometers per hour (km/h) compared to the previous 10 km/h.
Urduja will make landfall either in Eastern Samar or Northern Samar.
The tropical storm has maximum winds of 80 km/h and gustiness of up to 110 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)
Signal number 2 is raised over:
- Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands
- Eastern Samar
- Northern Samar
- northern Iloilo
Signal number 1, meanwhile, is up in:
- southern Quezon
- Oriental Mindoro
- Occidental Mindoro
- Camarines Norte
- Camarines Sur
- Cuyo Island
- Calamian Group of Islands
- southern Iloilo
- Negros Occidental
- northern Negros Oriental
- northern Bohol
- Southern Leyte
- Dinagat Islands
Floods and landslides have hit Eastern Samar, while Tacloban City is under a state of calamity. (LOOK: Houses in Eastern Samar flooded due to Urduja)
PAGASA said residents of provinces in the tropical storm’s path “must undertake appropriate measures against flooding and landslides and coordinate with their respective local government and disaster risk reduction and management offices.” (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)
Below are the top 5 areas which received the most rainfall in terms of millimeters (mm) on 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.
Meanwhile, sea travel remains risky in seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signals. Thousands of passengers have been stranded at various ports.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) earlier activated the government’s national disaster response operation to assist areas affected by the tropical storm.
Based on its forecast track, Urduja will eventually get downgraded back to a tropical depression by Tuesday, December 19, then leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday, December 20.