Fewer areas under signal no. 1 as Urduja moves near Romblon

Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak) is now in the region of Mimaropa after earlier hitting Eastern Visayas

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Satellite image as of December 17, 2 pm. Image courtesy of NOAA

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak) maintained its strength as it moved in the vicinity of Romblon early Sunday afternoon, December 17, after weakening in the morning.

Urduja 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, December 16.

In a bulletin issued past 2 pm on Sunday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Urduja is already 65 kilometers east southeast of the municipality of Romblon in Romblon province, moving west at 15 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The tropical depression still has maximum winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 90 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

There are fewer areas under signal number 1:

  • southern Occidental Mindoro
  • southern Oriental Mindoro
  • Romblon
  • Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands
  • northern Palawan including Cuyo Island and Calamian Group of Islands
  • Aklan
  • Antique
  • Capiz
  • Iloilo

Floods and landslides earlier 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 depression’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 signal number 1. More than 16,000 passengers have been stranded at various ports. (LOOK: Passengers stranded in Tacloban transport terminal)

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) earlier activated the government’s national disaster response operation.

The DSWD said on Sunday that around 221,386 persons or 50,653 families across 4 regions are affected. (READ: #ReliefPH: Help victims of Urduja)

Based on its latest forecast track, Urduja will leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday, December 20.

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Urduja as of December 17, 2 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Aside from Urduja, PAGASA is also monitoring a tropical depression located 1,950 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 either on Wednesday or Thursday, December 21. – Rappler.com