Tropical Storm Ambo moves over Benguet

Acor Arceo
PAGASA says Tropical Storm Ambo (Vongfong) will continue crossing Northern Luzon before emerging over the coastal waters of the Ilocos Region on Saturday, May 16

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Satellite image of Tropical Storm Ambo (Vongfong) as of May 16, 2020, 5 am. Image from NOAA

MANILA, Philippines – Ambo (Vongfong), which has since weakened from a severe tropical storm into a tropical storm, began moving over the province of Benguet before dawn on Saturday, May 16.

In a bulletin issued 5 am on Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ambo is already in the vicinity of Tuba, Benguet, moving northwest at 15 kilometers per hour (km/h).

Its maximum winds are down to 75 km/h, while its gustiness decreased to 125 km/h. It is projected to continue weakening this weekend. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Ambo earlier made landfall 6 times as a typhoon and once as a severe tropical storm.

Thursday, May 14

  • San Policarpo, Eastern Samar – 12:15 pm
  • Dalupiri Island, Northern Samar – 10:15 pm
  • Capul Island, Northern Samar – 10:30 pm

Friday, May 15

  • Ticao Island, Masbate – 12 am
  • Burias Island, Masbate – 3 am
  • San Andres, Quezon – 7:45 am
  • Real, Quezon – 5 pm

PAGASA said Ambo will continue crossing Northern Luzon before emerging over the coastal waters of the Ilocos Region on Saturday.

There are now fewer areas under tropical cyclone wind signals. Metro Manila and areas in Calabarzon, which had experienced strong winds and heavy rain on Friday evening, May 15, are no longer included in the list below. (READ: Why is it now called tropical cyclone ‘wind’ – and not ‘warning’ – signals?)

Signal No. 2 (winds of 61 to 120 km/h, or strong to damaging gale-force winds during the passage of the tropical storm)

  • Babuyan Islands
  • northwestern part of mainland Cagayan (Santa Praxedes, Claveria, Sanchez Mira, Pamplona, Abulug)
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • western part of Quirino (Diffun, Cabarroguis, Nagtipunan)
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • La Union
  • Pangasinan
  • Apayao
  • Abra
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Ifugao
  • Benguet
  • central part of Aurora (Dipaculao, Maria Aurora, Baler, San Luis)
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Tarlac

Signal No. 1 (winds of 30 to 60 km/h, or strong to near-gale-force winds during the passage of the tropical storm)

  • Batanes
  • rest of Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • rest of Quirino
  • Zambales
  • Bataan
  • Pampanga
  • Bulacan
  • rest of Aurora

Ambo is still seen to cause moderate to heavy rain this weekend. Here are the areas to be affected:

Saturday, May 16

  • Ilocos Region
  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Cagayan Valley
  • northern part of Aurora
  • northern part of Zambales

Sunday, May 17

  • Batanes

PAGASA advised residents of Northern Luzon to watch out for possible floods and landslides.

Tens of thousands of people earlier fled their homes as authorities enforced preemptive evacuation. (READ: Social distancing ‘per family’ at Typhoon Ambo evacuation centers)

Sea travel remains risky for all vessels in the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals, as well as in the east coast of Quezon, including Polillo Island.

Ambo is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday afternoon, May 18. By then, it is likely to have weakened already into a low pressure area.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Ambo (Vongfong) as of May 16, 2020, 5 am. Image from PAGASA

Ambo is the Philippines’ first tropical cyclone for 2020. The country gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2020)

In PAGASA’s climate outlook, it gave the following estimates for the number of tropical cyclones in the next 6 months:

  • May – 1 or 2
  • June – 1 or 2
  • July – 2 to 4
  • August – 2 or 3
  • September – 2 or 3
  • October – 2 or 3


Acor Arceo

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