Signal No. 3 lifted as Typhoon Ursula off to West PH Sea

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) slightly weakened while moving toward the West Philippine Sea late Wednesday evening, December 25, following its Christmas onslaught in the Visayas and parts of Luzon.

In a bulletin issued past 11 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ursula is already 100 kilometers north northwest of Coron, Palawan.

The typhoon continues to move west northwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h).

Its maximum winds are down to 130 km/h from the previous 140 km/h, while its gustiness decreased to 160 km/h from the previous 195 km/h.

Ursula made landfall in the Philippines 7 times – the first 3 in Eastern Visayas on Christmas Eve, the next 3 in Western Visayas on Christmas Day, and the 7th in Oriental Mindoro, also on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 24

Wednesday, December 25

Some areas in Ursula's path experienced heavy flooding and serious damage.

With the typhoon moving out to sea on Wednesday evening, there are no more areas under Signal No. 3. But several are still under Signal Nos. 1 and 2. (READ: Why is it now called tropical cyclone 'wind' – and not 'warning' – signals?)

Signal No. 2 (winds of 61 km/h to 120 km/h)

Signal No. 1 (winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h)

Rain will also continue until Thursday morning, December 26, in parts of Luzon and the Visayas. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Occasional to frequent heavy rain with intermittent intense rain

Light to moderate rain with intermittent heavy rain

In addition, storm surges 1 to 2 meters high may still affect these areas:

Travel remains risky in the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals. Some sea trips earlier resumed with the lifting of wind signals for certain areas, but not before Ursula left at least 23,789 passengers stranded.

Dozens of domestic flights were canceled on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, too.

Based on its latest forecast track, Ursula is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday, December 27.

Forecast track of Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) as of December 25, 2019, 11 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) as of December 25, 2019, 11 pm.

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. –