Tropical cyclone “Ursula” (international name: “Phanfone”) has intensified into a typhoon ahead of its landfall over Borongan or Guiuan, Eastern Samar between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., December 24.
As of 2 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised Signal No. 3 over Northern Samar, Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, and Camotes Islands.
“Ursula” has maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 150 kph.
Signal No. 2 was raised in southern Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Romblon, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands, extreme northern Cebu including Bantayan Island, northeastern Iloilo, northern Antique, Capiz, Aklan, Southern Leyte, extreme northern Negros Occidental, and Dinagat Islands.
Areas placed under Signal No. 1 were Bulacan, Bataan, Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, rest of Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, northern Palawan, Calamian Islands, Cuyo Islands, the rest of northern Cebu, central Cebu, northeastern Bohol, the rest of Antique, the rest of Iloilo, Guimaras, northern Negros
Occidental, northern Negros Oriental, and Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands.
“Ursula” was already 95 kilometers (km) east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar around 1 p.m. Tuesday. Should it maintain its westward track at 20 kph, it will likely make landfall over Eastern Samar Tuesday afternoon or early evening.
PAGASA weather specialist Ezra Bulquerin said occasional to frequent heavy rains are already being felt in Dinagat Islands, Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands, Eastern Visayas, Sorsogon, Masbate, northern and central Cebu, northern Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras and Romblon.
Meanwhile, light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains were being experienced over Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, and the rest of Visayas and Surigao del Norte.
Residents in these areas were advised to take appropriate measures to reduce the potential impact of flooding and rain-induced landslides, especially in areas identified to be highly susceptible to these hazards.
Moderate to strong winds have also began to affect northeastern Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.
By Wednesday, occasional to frequent heavy rains will likely prevail over Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Romblon,
Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Batangas, and Calamian Islands, while light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains may affect Cuyo Islands, Negros Provinces, Iloilo, Guimaras, Aurora, and rest of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.
Bulquerin said “Ursula” will traverse the island provinces of Visayas, and Southern Luzon on its way to the West Philippine Sea within 48 hours.
Moderate to strong winds will also prevail over Bicol Region and portions of Central Visayas as early as Tuesday afternoon, while Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, portions of Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro,
Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, and Western Visayas by Wednesday morning. The same scenario will likely prevail across Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Bataan by Wednesday morning or afternoon.
Maritime activities in areas under wind signals have been suspended.
PAGASA also warned that sea travel is risky over the eastern seaboards of the country, inland waters of Southern Luzon and Visayas, and western seaboards of Southern Luzon.
“Ursula” will likely be outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Friday or Saturday. (Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz)