Storm Ulysses likely to become a typhoon, threatens large swathe of Luzon

Published November 11, 2020, 12:23 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Tropical cyclone wind signal number 3 may be raised over several provinces in Bicol region, and eventually over Metro Manila and portions of Calabarzon and Central Luzon once severe tropical storm “Ulysses” (international name “Vamco”) is upgraded to typhoon status within the next few hours, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

As of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, signal numbers 2 and 1 are hoisted over several areas in Luzon, including some in the Visayas.

Signal number 2 is raised over Metro Manila, central and southern portions of Aurora (Dipaculao, Maria Aurora, Baler, San Luis, Dingalan), southeastern portion of Nueva Ecija (Bongabon, Laur, General Tinio, Gapan City, Peñaranda, Gabaldon), northern and eastern portions of Bulacan (Meycauayan City, Obando, Marilao, Bocaue, Pandi, Bustos, San Rafael, San Ildefonso, San Miguel, Angat, Santa Maria, San Jose del Monte City, Norzagaray, Doña Remedios Trinidad), Rizal, Laguna, Quezon including Polillo Islands, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Ticao Island, and Burias Island.

Signal No. 1 is up in Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, Abra, Ilocos Sur, La Union Pangasinan, the rest of Aurora, the rest of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, the rest of Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, the rest of Masbate, Northern Samar, northern portion of Samar (Santo Nino, Almagro, Tagapul-An, Tarangnan, Calbayog City, Santa Margarita, Gandara, Pagsanghan, San Jorge, San Jose de Buan, Matuguinao), and northern portion of Eastern Samar (Maslog, Dolores, Oras, San Policarpo, Arteche, Jipapad).

Throughout the passage of the severe tropical storm, the areas under signal number 2 may experience damaging gale-force to storm-force winds, while those under signal number 1 may have strong breeze to near gale conditions. 

The rest of Northern Luzon will be experiencing strong to gale-force winds due to the surge of northeast monsoon or “amihan.”

PAGASA estimated the location of Ulysses at 250 kilometers (km) east-northeast of Virac, Catanduanes around 10 p.m. It has maintained its maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 115 kph.

It said that Ulysses may intensify into a typhoon within the next 12 to 24 hours and reach a peak intensity of 130 kph to 155 kph prior to landfall. 

While it is likely for the tropical cyclone to weaken due to land interaction during its passage over mainland Luzon, especially over the Sierra Madre mountain range, PAGASA noted that it is “highly likely that this tropical cyclone (Ulysses) will remain a typhoon while crossing the Luzon landmass.”

Based on its latest forecast track, the severe tropical storm will move generally west and pass close to Catanduanes from Wednesday morning to afternoon, and northern portion of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte on Wednesday afternoon to evening. 

Due to the proximity of the center of the storm over these provinces during its passage, PAGASA said “it is highly likely that these areas will be within the inner rain bands or eyewall region during the passage.”

The center of Ulysses may cross the Calaguas Islands on Wednesday afternoon or evening and make landfall over Polillo Islands and mainland Quezon province between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. 

It may traverse mainland Luzon throughout the early hours of Thursday and will likely emerge over the western seaboard of Central Luzon on Thursday morning.

Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains may begin to affect Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar, while light to moderate with at times heavy rains may prevail over Aurora, Quezon including Polillo Islands, Marinduque, and the rest of Bicol region and Eastern Visayas. 

By Wednesday morning through late evening, heavy to intense with at times torrential rains are likely over Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Quezon including including Polillo Islands, and Marinduque, while moderate to heavy rains may affect the eastern portions of Cagayan and Isabela, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Northern Samar, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Sorsogon, and Masbate.

Light to moderate with at times heavy rains may also affect the rest of Luzon and Visayas.

PAGASA also warned of a high risk of storm surge up to 3.0 meters (m) over the coastal areas of Quezon including Polillo Islands, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, and the northern and eastern coastal areas of Camarines Sur, and up to 2.0 m over the coastal areas of Aurora, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, northern portions of Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Marinduque, Romblon, Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands, Albay, and Sorsogon, and the remaining coastal areas of Camarines Sur. 

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

Moreover, there is also a moderate risk of seiche or storm surge over the coastal areas surrounding Laguna de Bay and Taal Lake, PAGASA said.

If its projected track does not change, Ulysses will be around 55 km northwest of Daet, Camarines Norte or 105 km east-southeast of Infanta, Quezon by Wednesday evening; 310 km west of Subic Bay by Thursday evening; and at 795 km west of Subic Bay or outside the Philippine area of responsibility by Friday evening.