Cyclone wind signals raised as Ulysses approaches
As of 5 p.m., Signal No. 2 was hoisted over Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and the eastern portion of Camarines Norte.

Cyclone wind signals raised as Ulysses approaches

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - November 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical cyclone wind signals were raised over some parts of Central and Southern Luzon as well as in Eastern Visayas yesterday as Tropical Storm Ulysses (international name Vamco) continued to move closer to the Bicol region.

As of 5 p.m., Signal No. 2 was hoisted over Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and the eastern portion of Camarines Norte.

These areas were warned against “damaging” winds and moderate to heavy rains within 24 hours, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

Signal No. 1 was up in Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, the rest of Camarines Norte, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Pampanga, the eastern portion of Pangasinan, Quezon including Polillo Islands, Quirino, Rizal, Romblon, Tarlac and the central and southern portions of Zambales.

Also under Signal No. 1 are the northern portion of Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and the northern portion of Samar.

Areas under Signal No. 1 can expect intermittent rains with gusty winds of up to 60 kilometers per hour within the next 36 hours.

Ulysses was forecast to intensify into a severe tropical storm last night and may rapidly reach the typhoon category this morning.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds were expected to reach 130 to 155 kmh.

This afternoon, the center of Ulysses is projected to be 90 kilometers north of Virac, Catanduanes.

Based on latest forecast, Ulysses is likely to move closer to Catanduanes and Camarines Norte this afternoon until tonight and hit Quezon province tomorrow.

“The center of Ulysses is more likely to make landfall over Quezon early Thursday morning, with a close approach of Catanduanes and Camarines Norte on Wednesday afternoon and evening, respectively. However, slight southward shift in the orientation of the track forecast shows an increasing likelihood of landfall over Bicol region tomorrow afternoon or evening,” PAGASA said yesterday.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Ulysses was located at 375 kilometers east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes or 500 km east of Daet, Camarines Norte, packing winds of 85 kmh near the center and gustiness of up to 105 kmh.

It was expected to move northwest at 15 kmh.

If Ulysses maintains its strength and track, Metro Manila may experience stormy weather tomorrow, according to PAGASA weather forecaster Ariel Rojas.

PAGASA also warned against possible storm surges of up to two meters high along the coastal areas of Albay, Aurora, Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Camarines provinces, Catanduanes, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Metro Manila, Pampanga, Quezon, Rizal and Romblon as well as in the western coastal area of Masbate including Burias Island and the northern coastal areas of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro including Lubang Island in the next 48 hours.

“These storm surges, which may be accompanied by swells and breaking waves reaching the coast, can cause life-threatening and damaging coastal inundation,” the weather bureau said.

Apart from Ulysses, the tail-end of a cold front is also bringing light to moderate to at times heavy rains over Apayao, Cagayan including Babuyan Islands, Ilocos Norte and Isabela.

Ulysses is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Friday afternoon.

Getting ready

As this developed, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) started preparing its deployable response groups (DRGs) in areas threatened by Ulysses.

PCG commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. instructed his men in Bataan, Bicol, Bulacan, Cagayan Valley, Metro Manila, Mindoro, Quezon province, Rizal and Zambales to prepare for possible evacuation and rescue operations.

Coast Guard stations in these areas were told to coordinate with local government units (LGUs).

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, there were 751 passengers, drivers and cargo helpers stranded in Bicol and Southern Tagalog.

There were also nine vessels, seven motor boats and 293 rolling cargoes that were not allowed to travel due to Ulysses.

Fifty-nine more vessels and 24 motor boats are taking shelter as a precautionary measure against the cyclone.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) suspended travel of all public utility vehicles in Bicol due to Ulysses.

The LTFRB said the travel suspension from Bicol to the Visayas and Mindanao was based on the recommendations of the Office of the Civil Defense-Bicol.

The LTFRB urged the public to avoid traveling while the storm is in the country.

Appeal for more calamity funds

Meanwhile, Sen. Bong Go reiterated his appeal for the government to replenish the calamity funds of typhoon-hit areas.

With Tropical Storm Ulysses threatening the country, Go said there is a need to replenish the depleted funds of LGUs in these areas.

“We must be pro-active, always ready. There is a strong possibility that the new typhoon will go the same path traversed by the previous two typhoons. Let us help the affected LGUs and protect their communities,” Go said.

“That is why I am reiterating my appeal to the government to replenish the calamity funds of the disaster-affected LGUs. They need extra funds to buy food, medicine and other necessities,” he added.

Like Typhoon Rolly, Ulysses is expected to make landfall in Bicol.

Earlier, Go urged the Department of Budget and Management to replenish the calamity funds of LGUs ravaged by Rolly and Quinta by augmenting their local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund equivalent to one percent of their respective Internal Revenue Allotments.

“This fund can do a lot to meet the needs of their communities, especially since their previous funds have been depleted due to the pandemic,” he said. – Emmanuel Tupas, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan

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