Philippine tropical cyclones

Typhoon Ulysses gains more strength ahead of landfall

Acor Arceo
Typhoon Ulysses gains more strength ahead of landfall

Satellite image of Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) as of November 11, 2020, 5 pm.

Image from PAGASA

Even before its landfall, Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) already brings destructive winds and torrential rain on Wednesday afternoon, November 11

Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco) strengthened further late Wednesday afternoon, November 11, already bringing fierce winds and rain before its projected landfall.

In an online briefing past 5 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ulysses now has maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 135 km/h and gustiness of up to 195 km/h from the previous 165 km/h.

PAGASA said Ulysses could reach its peak intensity of up to 155 km/h – referring to maximum sustained winds – before landfall. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the typhoon was located 60 kilometers east northeast of Daet, Camarines Norte, still moving west at 20 km/h.

For Wednesday evening, Ulysses will pass over the seas north of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. The typhoon could pass very near Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte within 3 hours, or even make landfall there.

Another scenario shows Ulysses making its first landfall in Polillo Island between 11 pm on Wednesday and 2 am on Thursday, November 12, followed by a second landfall in mainland Quezon between 1 am and 3 am on Thursday.

PAGASA warned that destructive winds and intense to torrential rain from Ulysses’ eyewall and inner rainbands will persist in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte until Wednesday evening, and then in Aurora and the northern part of Quezon from Wednesday evening to early Thursday morning.

After Ulysses hits Quezon, it would cross Central Luzon. The typhoon’s center is forecast to be closest to Metro Manila between 4 and 6 am on Thursday, but PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist Chris Perez said they are not ruling out the possibility that the center could shift and pass directly over the capital region.

Ulysses would then emerge over the western seaboard of Zambales on Thursday morning.

This is PAGASA’s complete rainfall outlook, covering Wednesday evening to early Thursday morning:

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

Meanwhile, the following areas remain under tropical cyclone wind signals as of 5 pm on Wednesday.

Signal No. 3
  • southern part of Quirino (Maddela, Nagtipunan)
  • southern part of Nueva Vizcaya (Alfonso Castañeda, Dupax del Norte, Dupax del Sur)
  • Pangasinan
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Aurora
  • Tarlac
  • Zambales
  • Bataan
  • Pampanga
  • Bulacan
  • Metro Manila
  • Rizal
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • 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
  • Batangas
  • 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
  • rest of Quirino
  • rest of Nueva Vizcaya
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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.

PAGASA said Ulysses could slightly weaken as it crosses land “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 Aurora, 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, 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 is also causing 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 is also triggering 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 are 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, 5 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.