Philippine tropical cyclones

Ulysses intensifies into severe tropical storm

Acor Arceo
Ulysses intensifies into severe tropical storm

Satellite image of Severe Tropical Storm Ulysses (Vamco) as of November 10, 2020, 8 pm.

Image from NOAA

Severe Tropical Storm Ulysses (Vamco) has maximum sustained winds of 95 km/h and gustiness of up to 115 km/h early Tuesday evening, November 10. It will continue to strengthen in the coming hours.

As projected, Ulysses (Vamco) strengthened from a tropical storm into a severe tropical storm early Tuesday evening, November 10.

In its 8 pm bulletin on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ulysses now has maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 115 km/h.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, it had maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h and gustiness of up to 105 km/h. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

PAGASA warned that Ulysses may rapidly intensify further into a typhoon by Wednesday morning, November 11. As a typhoon, its peak intensity is seen to be 130 to 155 km/h by Wednesday afternoon or evening, and it is expected to make landfall at or near that intensity.

As of early Tuesday evening, Ulysses is located 425 kilometers east of Daet, Camarines Norte.

The severe tropical storm is moving west northwest, with its speed doubling to 30 km/h from the previous 15 km/h.

At the moment, PAGASA sees Ulysses moving toward the Camarines Norte-Quezon area.

It could make landfall in Quezon early Thursday morning, November 12, after moving very near Catanduanes on Wednesday afternoon and Camarines Norte on Wednesday evening.

But there is also an “increasing likelihood” of landfall in Camarines Norte on Wednesday afternoon or evening.

More areas have been placed under tropical cyclone wind signals as of 8 pm on Tuesday.

Signal No. 2
  • central and southern parts of Quezon (Atimonan, Pagbilao, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Unisan, Plaridel, Gumaca, Pitogo, Macalelon, General Luna, Catanauan, Mulanay, San Francisco, San Andres, San Narciso, Buenavista, Lopez, Guinayangan, Calauag, Tagkawayan, Quezon, Alabat, Perez) including Polillo Island
  • Catanduanes
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Burias and Ticao Islands
  • Marinduque
Signal No. 1
  • Mountain Province
  • Ifugao
  • Benguet
  • La Union
  • Pangasinan
  • central and southern parts of Isabela (Quezon, Delfin Albano, Tumauini, Divilacan, Mallig, Quirino, Ilagan, Palanan, San Mariano, Benito Soliven, Naguilian, Gamu, Burgos, Roxas, San Manuel, Aurora, Luna, Reina Mercedes, Cauayan City, Cabatuan, San Mateo, Alicia, Angadanan, San Guillermo, Dinapigue, Echague, San Isidro, Ramon, Santiago City, Cordon, Jones, San Agustin)
  • Quirino
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Aurora
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Tarlac
  • Pampanga
  • Bulacan
  • Zambales
  • Bataan
  • Metro Manila
  • rest of Quezon
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Cavite
  • Batangas
  • rest of Masbate
  • Romblon
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
  • Northern Samar
  • northern part of Samar (Santo Niño, Almagro, Tagapul-an, Tarangnan, Calbayog City, Santa Margarita, Gandara, Pagsanghan, San Jorge, San Jose de Buan, Matuguinao)
  • northern part of Eastern Samar (Maslog, Dolores, Oras, San Policarpo, Arteche, Jipapad)

PAGASA said areas under Signal No. 2 should brace for damaging gale- to storm-force winds, while those under Signal No. 1 will have strong breeze to near gale conditions during the passage of Ulysses.

The highest possible tropical cyclone wind signal that could be raised due to Ulysses is Signal No. 3.

For the rest of Tuesday evening, light to moderate rain will persist due to Ulysses’ outer rainbands and the tail-end of a cold front. The rain may be heavy at times.

Due to Ulysses

  • Aurora
  • Quezon
  • Bicol
  • Eastern Visayas
  • Central Visayas
  • Caraga
  • Northern Mindanao
  • Zamboanga Peninsula
  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Due to tail-end of a cold front

  • Cagayan including Babuyan Islands
  • Isabela
  • Apayao
  • Ilocos Norte

By early Wednesday morning, the rainfall from Ulysses will already be moderate to heavy in Bicol, parts of Quezon, Samar, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar. Floods and landslides could occur.

In addition, the state weather bureau warned of a “moderate to high risk” of storm surges 1 to 2 meters high in the next 48 hours. These are the potential areas:

  • coastal areas of Calabarzon, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Romblon, and Marinduque
  • western coastal area of Masbate including Burias Island
  • northern coastal areas of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro including Lubang Island

“These storm surges, which may be accompanied by swells and breaking waves reaching the coast, can cause life-threatening and damaging coastal inundation,” PAGASA said.

Ulysses will also cause rough to very rough waters, with waves 2.5 to 6 meters high, in these seaboards:

  • seaboards of areas under Signal Nos. 1 and 2
  • eastern seaboard of Eastern Samar (parts that are not under a tropical cyclone wind signal)

The surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan is likewise causing rough to very rough seas, with waves 2.5 to 5 meters high, in the following:

  • seaboards of Northern Luzon
  • seaboards of Kalayaan Islands

Elsewhere, PAGASA advised small vessels to take precautionary measures as the country’s remaining seaboards will have moderate to rough waters.

Ulysses could exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday, November 13.

Forecast track of Severe Tropical Storm Ulysses (Vamco) as of November 10, 2020, 8 pm.
Image from PAGASA

Ulysses is the Philippines’ 21st tropical cyclone for 2020 – already above the yearly average of 20. (READ: LIST: PAGASA’s names for tropical cyclones in 2020)

For the next 6 months, these are PAGASA’s estimates for tropical cyclones inside PAR:

  • November 2020 – 1 to 3
  • December 2020 – 2 or 3
  • January 2021 – 0 or 1
  • February 2021 – 0 or 1
  • March 2021 – 0 or 1
  • April 2021 – 0 or 1

Since October, La Niña has been underway, which means there is more rain than usual.

Then in November, the northeast monsoon began, signaling “surges of cold temperatures.”

PAGASA warned that La Niña may enhance the northeast monsoon, which could trigger floods and landslides. –

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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.