Typhoon Ursula slightly intensifies off Capiz

Acor Arceo
Typhoon Ursula slightly intensifies off Capiz
Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) moves over the Jintotolo Channel off Capiz, after making its 4th landfall in Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) slightly intensified over the Jintotolo Channel before dawn on Wednesday, December 25, Christmas Day, while still bringing destructive winds and heavy rain to parts of the Visayas.

In a briefing at 5 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ursula now has maximum winds of 140 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 130 km/h. Its gustiness slightly decreased to 195 km/h from the previous 200 km/h, though still strong.

The typhoon is already 40 kilometers east northeast of Roxas City, Capiz, still moving west northwest at 25 km/h.

So far, Ursula has made landfall 4 times:

  • Salcedo, Eastern Samar – 4:45 pm, Tuesday, December 24
  • Tacloban City, Leyte – 7:30 pm, Tuesday, December 24
  • Cabucgayan, Biliran – 9:15 pm, Tuesday, December 24
  • Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo – 2:30 am, Wednesday, December 25

PAGASA warned that Ursula’s eyewall is now bringing very destructive winds and intense rainfall to the southern part of Masbate, Capiz, and the northeastern part of Iloilo.

The World Meteorological Organization defines the eyewall as “an organized band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye, or light-wind center of a tropical cyclone.”

“The passage of the eye in some of the aforementioned areas will bring calm conditions. However, as soon as the eye moves out of the area, violent conditions will resume as the other areas of the eyewall [pass] over,” PAGASA said.

Below is the latest list of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals. (READ: Why is it now called tropical cyclone ‘wind’ – and not ‘warning’ – signals?)

Signal No. 3 (winds of 121 km/h to 170 km/h)

  • Masbate including Ticao Island
  • Romblon
  • southern part of Oriental Mindoro (Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao)
  • southern part of Occidental Mindoro (Calintaan, Rizal, San Jose, Magsaysay)
  • extreme northern part of Cebu including Bantayan Island (Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bantayan, Sta Fe, Madridejos)
  • Capiz
  • Aklan
  • northern part of Antique (Libertad, Pandan, Sebaste, Culasi, Tibiao, Barbaza, Laua-an)
  • northern part of Iloilo (Calinog, Bingawan, Passi City, San Enrique, San Rafael, Barotac Viejo, Ajuy, Lemery, Sara, Concepcion, San Dionisio, Batad, Estancia, Balasan, Carles)

Signal No. 2 (winds of 61 km/h to 120 km/h)

  • southern part of Quezon (Macalelon, General Luna, Catanauan, Mulanay, San Narciso, San Andres, San Francisco)
  • Marinduque
  • rest of Oriental Mindoro
  • rest of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Burias Island
  • Calamian Islands
  • Cuyo Islands
  • Biliran
  • northwestern part of Leyte (Calubian, San Isidro, Tabango, Villaba, Matag-ob, Palompon, Isabel, Merida, Ormoc City, Kananga, Leyte, Capoocan, Carigara, Barugo, Tunga, Jaro)
  • Northern Samar
  • Samar
  • rest of the northern part of Cebu including Camotes Islands (San Francisco, Poro, Tudela, Pilar, Bogo City, Tabogon, San Remigio, Borbon, Tabuelan, Tuburan, Sogod, Catmon, Carmen, Asturias)
  • central part of Cebu (Danao City, Balamban, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cordova, Talisay, Minglanilla, Naga City, San Fernando, Carcar City, Aloguinsan, Pinamungahan, Toledo City)
  • rest of Iloilo
  • rest of Antique
  • Guimaras
  • northern part of Negros Occidental (Valladolid, Pulupandan, Bago City, Murcia, San Carlos City, Salvador Benedicto, Bacolod City, Talisay, Silay City, Enrique B Magalona, Victorias City, Manapla, Cadiz City, Sagay City, Escalante City, Toboso, Calatrava)

Signal No. 1 (winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h)

  • Bataan
  • Metro Manila
  • Rizal
  • Cavite
  • rest of Quezon
  • Laguna
  • Batangas
  • Camarines Sur
  • Camarines Norte
  • Catanduanes
  • northern part of mainland Palawan (Linapacan, El Nido, Taytay, Araceli, Dumaran, San Vicente, Roxas)
  • Eastern Samar
  • rest of Leyte
  • Southern Leyte
  • Bohol
  • Siquijor
  • rest of Cebu
  • rest of Negros Occidental
  • Negros Oriental

PAGASA also gave this additional outlook for winds:

Wednesday morning, December 25

  • destructive typhoon-force winds in Aklan, the northern part of Antique, and Romblon
  • damaging gale- to storm-force winds in Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro
  • moderate to strong winds in the northern part of Palawan and most of Calabarzon

Wednesday afternoon, December 25

  • destructive typhoon-force winds in the southern parts of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro
  • damaging gale- to storm-force winds in Calamian Islands and Cuyo Islands
  • moderate to strong winds in Metro Manila and Bataan

Below is the latest rainfall outlook.

Until Wednesday evening, December 25

  • Occasional to frequent heavy rain with intermittent intense rain
    • Masbate
    • extreme northern part of Cebu
    • northern part of Negros Occidental
    • northern part of Negros Oriental
    • Aklan
    • Antique
    • Capiz
    • Iloilo
    • Guimaras
    • Romblon
    • Calamian Islands
    • Cuyo Islands
    • Occidental Mindoro
    • Oriental Mindoro
  • Light to moderate rain with isolated heavy rainshowers
    • Bicol
    • rest of Visayas
    • Calabarzon
    • Marinduque
    • Aurora
    • northern part of mainland Palawan

Flash floods and landslides remain possible on Christmas Day. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

There may also be storm surges up to 2 meters high in these provinces:

  • extreme northern part of Cebu
  • Masbate
  • Aklan
  • Capiz
  • northern part of Antique
  • northeastern part of Iloilo
  • Romblon
  • Marinduque
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Calamian Islands
  • Cuyo Islands

Travel remains risky in the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals, the seaboards of Aurora, and the northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao due to rough waters.

The Philippine Coast Guard said there have been at least 23,789 stranded passengers in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, and Southern Visayas.

There are canceled domestic flights as well.

Based on its latest forecast track, Ursula is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility late Friday, December 27, or early Saturday, December 28.

Forecast track of Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) as of December 25, 2019, 5 am. Image from PAGASA

Ursula is the Philippines’ 21st tropical cyclone for 2019, exceeding the yearly average of 20. (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

Ursula is also the second tropical cyclone for December, after Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri). PAGASA earlier said it was expecting one or two tropical cyclones during the month.

In December 2018, the Philippines had a deadly tropical cyclone during Christmas – Tropical Depression Usman. It left 156 people dead and 105 others injured in Eastern Visayas, Bicol, and Mimaropa, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. – Rappler.com

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Acor Arceo

Acor Arceo is the head of copy and editorial standards at Rappler. Trained in both online and TV newsrooms, Acor ensures consistency in editorial standards across all sections and also supervises Rappler’s coverage of disasters.