Tropical Storm Urduja slightly weakens again over Samar
But several areas remain under signal no. 2 due to Urduja (Kai-tak)

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Satellite image as of December 16, 11 pm. Image courtesy of NOAA

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-tak) slightly weakened again late Saturday evening, December 16, while over the northern part of Samar province.

The tropical storm has left at least 3 people dead and 6 others missing, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). It had made landfall in San Policarpo, Eastern Samar early Saturday afternoon.

In a bulletin issued 11 pm on Saturday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Urduja remains in the vicinity of San Jose de Buan, Samar, moving west at 13 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The tropical storm now has maximum winds of 65 km/h from the previous 75 km/h and gustiness of up to 110 km/h from the previous 120 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Signal number 2 is raised over:

  • Sorsogon
  • Masbate including Ticao Island
  • Romblon
  • Cuyo Island
  • Northern Samar
  • northern part of Samar
  • Biliran
  • Aklan
  • Capiz
  • northern Antique
  • northern Iloilo

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is up in:

  • southern Quezon
  • Marinduque
  • southern Oriental Mindoro
  • southern Occidental Mindoro
  • Catanduanes
  • Camarines Sur
  • Albay
  • Burias Island
  • northern Palawan including Calamian Group of Islands
  • southern Iloilo
  • southern Antique
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • northern Negros Oriental
  • northern Cebu
  • Leyte
  • Eastern Samar
  • southern part of Samar

Floods and landslides have hit Eastern Samar, while parts of Leyte are 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.

  1. Catarman, Northern Samar – 347.4 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 628.2 mm)
  2. Catbalogan, Samar – 331.2 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 322.7 mm)
  3. Juban, Sorsogon – 162 mm (no amount given for normal monthly rainfall)
  4. Borongan, Eastern Samar – 155 mm (normal monthly rainfall: 674.8 mm)
  5. 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. (READ: #ReliefPH: Help victims of Urduja)

Based on its forecast track, Urduja will eventually get downgraded back to a tropical depression by Sunday, December 17, then leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday, December 19 or Wednesday, December 20.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Urduja as of December 16, 11 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Aside from Urduja, PAGASA is also monitoring a tropical depression located 2,275 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 next week. –