Typhoon Ursula crosses northern tip of Aklan-Antique

Acor Arceo
Typhoon Ursula crosses northern tip of Aklan-Antique
Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) makes its 5th landfall in Ibajay, Aklan, at 8:40 am on Christmas Day

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) maintained its strength while crossing the northern tip of the Aklan-Antique area late Wednesday morning, December 25, battering the two provinces and other areas on Christmas Day.

In a briefing past 11 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ursula is already in the vicinity of Libertad, Antique.

The typhoon continues to move west at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h). It still has maximum winds of 140 km/h and gustiness of up to 195 km/h.

Ursula has now made landfall 5 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
  • Ibajay, Aklan – 8:40 am, Wednesday, December 25

PAGASA warned that Ursula’s eyewall is now bringing very destructive winds and intense rainfall to Aklan, the northern part of Antique, and Romblon.

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.”

“In case of the passage of the eye in some of the aforementioned areas, calm conditions will be experienced. However, as soon as the eye moves out of the area, violent conditions associated with the eyewall will resume,” PAGASA said.

Within the next 3 hours, Ursula will then move toward Semirara Island, Caluya Island, and Sibay Island.

PAGASA has lifted tropical cyclone wind signals for Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Camotes Islands, the central and southern parts of Cebu, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Leyte, Bohol, Siquijor, and Catanduanes.

But there are still areas under Signal Nos. 1, 2, and 3, listed below. (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)

  • Romblon
  • southern part of Oriental Mindoro (Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao, Bongabong, Bansud)
  • southern part of Occidental Mindoro (Calintaan, Rizal, San Jose, Magsaysay, southern part of Sablayan)
  • Calamian Islands (Busuanga, Coron, Culion)
  • Capiz
  • Aklan
  • northern part of Antique (Caluya, Libertad, Pandan, Sebaste, Culasi, Tibiao, Barbaza, Laua-an)

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
  • Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands
  • Cuyo Islands
  • extreme northern part of mainland Palawan (Linapacan, El Nido, Taytay, Araceli)
  • Iloilo
  • Guimaras
  • rest of Antique

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
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • rest of the northern part of mainland Palawan (Dumaran, San Vicente, Roxas)
  • Cagayancillo Islands
  • northern part of Cebu including Bantayan Island (Bantayan, Madridejos, Sta Fe, Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bogo City, San Remigio, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Tuburan, Asturias, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod, Borbon, Tabogon)
  • Negros Occidental

PAGASA gave more information on tropical cyclone winds:

Beginning Wednesday morning, December 25

  • destructive typhoon-force winds in Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro
  • damaging gale- to storm-force winds in Calamian Islands and Cuyo Islands
  • moderate to strong winds in the northern part of Palawan and most of Calabarzon

Beginning Wednesday afternoon, December 25

  • destructive typhoon-force winds in Calamian Islands
  • moderate to strong winds in Metro Manila and Bataan

Ursula will also continue to bring rain throughout Christmas Day.

Until Wednesday evening, December 25

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

Flooding has been reported in some areas. The risk of landslides also remains. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

There may also be storm surges 1 to 2 meters high within the next 24 hours in these provinces:

  • southern part of 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, 11 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.