Philippine tropical cyclones

Luzon bracing for impact as Ulysses now a typhoon

Acor Arceo
Luzon bracing for impact as Ulysses now a typhoon

Satellite image of Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) as of November 11, 2020, 11:10 am.

Image from PAGASA

(3rd UPDATE) Signal No. 3 is raised in much of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, including Metro Manila, as of 11 am on Wednesday, November 11

Ulysses (Vamco) intensified from a severe tropical storm into a typhoon at 8 am on Wednesday, November 11, while moving closer to the provinces of Quezon and Aurora.

In a press briefing past 11 am on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ulysses now has maximum sustained winds of 125 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 110 km/h and gustiness of up to 155 km/h from the previous 135 km/h.

PAGASA said Ulysses may reach its peak intensity of 130 to 155 km/h before landfall. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

As of late Wednesday morning, the typhoon is already 100 kilometers north of Virac, Catanduanes.

It is moving west northwest at the same speed of 20 km/h.

“Destructive winds and intense with at times torrential rainfall associated with the region of the eyewall and inner rainbands of the typhoon will be experienced over the northern portions of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte until tonight (Wednesday evening), and over Aurora and [the] northern portion of Quezon tonight through tomorrow early morning (early Thursday morning),” PAGASA warned.

Signal No. 3 is now raised in much of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, including Metro Manila, while many other areas are under Signal Nos. 1 and 2. Below is the complete list as of 11 am on Wednesday.

Signal No. 3
  • southern part of Aurora (Dipaculao, Baler, Maria Aurora, San Luis, Dingalan)
  • southern part of Nueva Ecija (Bongabon, Gabaldon, General Tinio, Laur, Palayan City, Cabanatuan City, Santa Rosa, Peñaranda, Gapan City, San Leonardo, Jaen, San Antonio, San Isidro, Cabiao)
  • eastern part of Pampanga (Candaba, Arayat, Santa Ana, Mexico, San Luis, San Simon, San Fernando City, Santo Tomas, Apalit, Minalin, Bacolor, Santa Rita, Guagua, Macabebe, Masantol, Sasmuan, Lubao)
  • Bulacan
  • Metro Manila
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • northern and central parts of Quezon (General Nakar, Infanta, Real, Mauban, Sampaloc, Lucban, Tayabas City, Sariaya, Candelaria, Dolores, Tiaong, San Antonio, Lucena City, Pagbilao, Atimonan, Padre Burgos, Unisan, Agdangan, Gumaca, Plaridel, Pitogo, Macalelon, Lopez, General Luna, Catanauan, Buenavista, Guinayangan, Tagkawayan, Calauag, Quezon, Alabat, Perez) including Polillo Island
  • Catanduanes
  • Camarines Norte
  • northern part of Camarines Sur (Del Gallego, Ragay, Lupi, Sipocot, Cabusao, Bombon, Calabanga, Tinambac, Siruma, Goa, Lagonoy, San Jose, Garchitorena, Presentacion, Caramoan)
Signal No. 2
  • central and southern parts of Quirino (Maddela, Cabarroguis, Aglipay, Nagtipunan)
  • central and southern parts of Nueva Vizcaya (Kasibu, Bambang, Kayapa, Dupax del Norte, Dupax del Sur, Aritao, Santa Fe, Alfonso Castañeda)
  • southern part of Benguet (Bokod, Itogon, Tublay, La Trinidad, Sablan, Baguio City, Tuba)
  • southern part of La Union (Burgos, Naguilian, Bauang, Caba, Aringay, Tubao, Pugo, Santo Tomas, Rosario, Agoo)
  • Pangasinan
  • Zambales
  • Bataan
  • Tarlac
  • rest of Pampanga
  • rest of Nueva Ecija
  • rest of Aurora
  • Batangas
  • rest of Quezon
  • Marinduque
  • northern part of Occidental Mindoro (Paluan, Abra de Ilog) including Lubang Island
  • northern part of Oriental Mindoro (Pola, Victoria, Naujan, Baco, Calapan City, San Teodoro, Puerto Galera)
  • rest of Camarines Sur
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Burias and Ticao Islands
Signal No. 1
  • Isabela
  • rest of Quirino
  • rest of Nueva Vizcaya
  • Kalinga
  • Mountain Province
  • Ifugao
  • rest of Benguet
  • Abra
  • Ilocos Sur
  • rest of La Union
  • rest of Occidental Mindoro
  • rest of Oriental Mindoro
  • Romblon
  • rest of Masbate
  • 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)

When Ulysses passes through, destructive typhoon-force winds will be experienced in areas under Signal No. 3; damaging gale- to storm-force winds in areas under Signal No. 2; and strong breeze to near gale conditions in areas under Signal No. 1.

In the rest of Northern Luzon, there will also be strong breeze to gale-force winds due to the surge of the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan.

As for rainfall, PAGASA provided the updated outlook below. Floods, landslides, and lahar flows could occur.

Wednesday afternoon to evening, November 11

Heavy to intense rain, with at times torrential rain

  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Catanduanes

Moderate to heavy rain, with at times intense rain

  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Quezon including Polillo Island
  • Burias and Ticao Islands

Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain

  • rest of Luzon
  • Visayas
Wednesday evening, November 11, to early Thursday morning, November 12

Heavy to intense rain, with at times torrential rain

  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Metro Manila
  • Calabarzon
  • Aurora
  • Bulacan
  • Pampanga
  • Bataan

Moderate to heavy rain, with at times intense rain

  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • mainland Cagayan Valley
  • Catanduanes
  • Marinduque
  • northern part of Occidental Mindoro
  • northern part of Oriental Mindoro
  • rest of Central Luzon

Light to moderate rain, with at times heavy rain

  • rest of Luzon
  • Visayas

According to PAGASA, Ulysses will pass over the seas north of Catanduanes by Wednesday afternoon, and then north of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte between Wednesday afternoon and evening.

“Due to the orientation of the track forecast, these provinces may fall within the inner rainbands or eyewall region of this typhoon during the passage,” the state weather bureau warned.

Ulysses’ center is forecast to make landfall in Polillo Island and mainland Quezon between Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning, November 12.

Then Ulysses would cross Central Luzon and emerge over the western seaboard of Zambales between Thursday morning and afternoon. Note that the typhoon has shifted upwards, so the latest forecast track shows its center may not directly pass through Metro Manila. Despite this, the threat remains in the capital region.

PAGASA said Ulysses could slightly weaken as it crosses Central Luzon “due to frictional effects in the presence of the Sierra Madre and Zambales mountain ranges.” But it is likely to remain a typhoon.

The state weather bureau also warned that there is a high risk of storm surges which “can cause life-threatening and damaging coastal inundation.”

Up to 3 meters high
  • coastal areas of Quezon including Polillo Island, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes
  • northern and eastern coastal areas of Camarines Sur
Up to 2 meters high
  • coastal areas of La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Zambales, Aurora, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, northern parts of Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Marinduque, Romblon, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Albay, and Sorsogon
  • remaining coastal areas of Camarines Sur

“Moreover, there is also a moderate risk of seiche or storm surge over the coastal areas surrounding Laguna de Bay,” PAGASA said.

Ulysses will also cause rough to very high seas, with waves 2.5 to 10 meters high, in these seaboards:

  • seaboards of areas under Signal Nos. 1, 2, and 3
  • eastern seaboard of Eastern Samar (parts that are not under a tropical cyclone wind signal)

The surge of the northeast monsoon will also trigger rough to high seas, with waves 3 to 6 meters high, in the remaining seaboards of Northern Luzon, and rough seas, with waves 2.5 to 3.5 meters high, in the seaboards of the Kalayaan Islands.

Meanwhile, waters will be moderate to rough, with waves 1.5 to 2.5 meters high in these seaboards:

  • western seaboards of Palawan including Calamian Islands
  • eastern seaboards of Mindanao

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

Forecast track of Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) as of November 11, 2020, 11 am.
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.