Typhoon Ursula batters Calamian Islands

Acor Arceo

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Typhoon Ursula batters Calamian Islands
Rain from Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) persists in parts of Luzon and the Visayas early Wednesday evening, December 25

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) brought very destructive winds and intense rain to the Calamian Islands while moving over the Mindoro Strait early Wednesday evening, December 25.

In a bulletin issued 8 pm on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ursula is already 75 kilometers west northwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, or 70 kilometers north northeast of Coron, Palawan.

The typhoon continues to move west northwest at 20 kilometers per hour (km/h), still with maximum winds of 140 km/h and gustiness of up to 195 km/h.

Before pounding the Calamian Islands, Ursula made landfall 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

  • Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo – 2:30 am
  • Ibajay, Aklan – 8:40 am
  • Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique – 1 pm
  • Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro – 3 pm

Ursula’s onslaught triggered heavy flooding and caused serious damage.

Tropical cyclone wind signals have been lifted for Capiz as well as parts of Antique and Aklan. These areas are among the badly hit.

Below are the areas still under Signal Nos. 1, 2, and 3. (READ: Why is it now called tropical cyclone ‘wind’ – and not ‘warning’ – signals?)

Signal No. 3 (winds of 121 km/h to 170 km/h)

  • southern part of Occidental Mindoro (Calintaan, Rizal, San Jose, Magsaysay, southern part of Sablayan)
  • Calamian Islands (Busuanga, Coron, Culion)

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

  • Oriental Mindoro
  • rest of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
  • Cuyo Islands
  • extreme northern part of mainland Palawan (Linapacan)

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

  • Batangas
  • Romblon
  • Marinduque
  • Bataan
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • rest of the northern part of mainland Palawan (Taytay, Dumaran, Araceli)
  • southern part of Quezon (Sampaloc, Lucban, Tayabas, Lucena, Dolores, Candelaria, Sariaya, Tiaong, San Antonio, Pagbilao, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Unisan, Pitogo, Macalelon, General Luna, Catanauan)

Ursula also continues to bring rain, expected to last throughout Wednesday evening. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Occasional to frequent heavy rain with intermittent intense rain

  • Calamian Islands
  • Cuyo Islands
  • Occidental Mindoro

Light to moderate rain with intermittent heavy rain

  • Romblon
  • Aklan
  • Capiz
  • Calabarzon
  • Marinduque
  • southern part of Aurora
  • northern part of mainland Palawan

Aside from those places above, PAGASA issued a separate rainfall advisory at 8 pm on Wednesday, warning of light to heavy rain in:

  • Metro Manila
  • Zambales
  • Bataan
  • Pampanga
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Quezon
  • Batangas

There may also be storm surges 1 to 2 meters high in these areas:

  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Calamian Islands

Travel remains risky in the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone wind signals.

The Philippine Coast Guard said there were at least 23,789 stranded passengers in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, and Southern Visayas. Some sea trips have since resumed with the lifting of tropical cyclone wind signals for certain areas.

Dozens of domestic flights were canceled on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well.

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, 8 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. – Rappler.com

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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.