'Ursula' maintains strength, threatens Calamian Islands

TYPHOON "Ursula" (international name Phanfone) has maintained its strength and is bringing destructive typhoon-force winds to Calamian Islands Wednesday night, December 25, the state weather bureau said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Ursula was located at 15 kilometers south southwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro packing maximum winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 195 kph.

The typhoon is moving west northwest at 20 kph and is expected to be at west northwest of Coron, Palawan by Thursday afternoon.

Pagasa said Ursula has made seven landfalls since Tuesday: Salcedo, Eastern Samar (4:45 p.m. Tuesday); Tacloban City, Leyte (7:30 p.m. Tuesday); Cabucgayan, Biliran (9:15 p.m. Tuesday); Gigantes Islands, Carles, Iloilo (2:30 a.m. Wednesday), Ibajay, Aklan (8:40 a.m. Wednesday), Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique (1 p.m. Wednesday), southern tip of Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro (3 p.m. Wednesday).

The state weather bureau added that Tropical Cyclone Wind Signals (TCWS) are now lifted over Metro Manila, Rizal, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Cagayancillo Island, northern Negros Occidental, Iloilo, and Guimaras.

However, other areas under TCWS will be experiencing occasional to frequent heavy with intermittent intense rains. Residents in these areas are advised to take appropriate measures against flooding and landslides.

Pagasa hoisted TCWS #3 (121-170 km/h winds prevailing or expected in 18 hours) to these areas: Southern Oriental Mindoro (Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao, Bongabong, Bansud, Pola, Socorro, Pinamalayan, Gloria), southern Occidental Mindoro (Calintaan, Rizal, San Jose, Magsaysay, southern portion of Sablayan), Calamian Islands (Busuanga, Coron, Culion), Caluya.

The areas under TCWS #2 (61-120 km/h winds prevailing or expected in 24 hours) are: Romblon, Batangas, Marinduque, the rest of Oriental Mindoro, the rest of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Cuyo Islands, extreme northern portion of mainland Palawan (Linapacan, El Nido, Taytay, Araceli), Northern Antique (Libertad, Pandan, Sebaste, Culasi), and northwestern Aklan (Malay, Nabas, Buruanga, Ibajay, Tangalan, Makato, Numancia, Lazo, Kalibo, Banga, Malinao, Madalag).

Meanwhile, TCWS #1 (30-60 km/h winds prevailing or expected in 36 hours) areas are: Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, the rest northern mainland Palawan (Dumaran, San Vicente, Roxas), southern portion of Quezon (Mauban, Sampaloc, Lucban, Tayabas, Lucena, Dolores, Candelaria, Sariaya, Tiaong, San Antonio, Pagbilao, Atimonan, Padre Burgos, Plaridel, Agdangan, Unisan, Gumaca, Pitogo, Macalelon, General Luna, Catanauan, Mulanay, San Francisco, San Andres, San Narciso, Buenavista, Lopez, Guinayangan, Calauag, Alabat, Perez, Quezon), Capiz, the rest of Antique, and the rest of Aklan.

Rough sea conditions will prevail over the seaboards of areas under TCWS. Sea travel remains risky over these areas.