By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Tropical cyclone Signal No. 2 has been raised over the majority of Samar provinces on Wednesday evening (May 13), as “Ambo” (international name: “Vongfong”) has rapidly intensified into a typhoon.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) placed under Signal No. 2 the entire province of Northern Samar, and northern portions of Eastern Samar and Samar, while Signal No. 1 was hoisted over the rest of Eastern Samar and Samar, Biliran, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur.
Residents in areas under Signal No. 2 have a lead time of 24 hours, and those under Signal No. 1 36 hours, to prepare for the effects of the approaching typhoon.
Signal No. 1 may also be raised over Quezon province and Marinduque on Thursday morning, PAGASA said.
As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, the weather bureau estimated the location of Ambo at 245 kilometers (km) east-northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar, or 325 km east of Catarman, Northern Samar. It is forecast to move west at 15 kilometers per hour (kph).
On Wednesday, Ambo rapidly intensified from a severe tropical storm at around 4 p.m. to a typhoon at 8 p.m. Its maximum winds have increased from 95 kph to 130 kph, while its gustiness increased from 115 kph to 160 kph.
PAGASA is not ruling out the possibility of further intensification before passing close to Northern Samar on Thursday evening and making landfall over Albay or Sorsogon early Friday.
Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate will feel the initial brunt of Ambo by Thursday with the prevalence of moderate to heavy, with at times intense, rains.
By Friday, heavy to intense with at times torrential rains will prevail in Bicol and Northern Samar, while moderate to heavy rains may affect Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Aurora, Marinduque, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, and Occidental Mindoro.
The weather bureau advised residents in these areas to take extra precautions against possible flooding and rain-induced landslides during heavy or prolonged rainfall.
Likewise, strong to near-gale force winds will begin affecting Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, and Biliran by Thursday morning; Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate by Thursday evening; and Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur early Friday.
Ambo is forecast to be at 100 km east of Juban, Sorsogon by Thursday evening; around 60 km northeast of Infanta, Quezon by Friday evening; and 60 km south-southwest of Calayan, Cagayan by Saturday afternoon.
According to weather specialist Joey Figuracion, light to moderate rains becoming heavy during thunderstorms may also be felt in Metro Manila by Friday.
Tropical cyclone Signal No. 1 may be raised over Metro Manila by Thursday, with a possibility of raising Signal No. 2 over the metro when the weather disturbance moves closer to the country, he said.
Should it maintain its current speed and track, Ambo will likely be outside the country’s area of responsibility by Monday (May 18).