By Ellalyn V. Ruiz and AFP
Thousands were driven from their homes by floods and three fishermen were missing as tropical storm “Urduja” (international name “Kai-Tak”) moved closer to land yesterday, officials said.
More areas were placed under tropical cyclone warning Signals 1 and 2 as Urduja was expected to make landfall in Northern or Eastern Samar yesterday afternoon.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration estimated the location of Urduja at 75 kilometers north-northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar or 120 kms east-southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar before noon yesterday.
PAGASA warned residents in Bicol and Visayas to be on alert for life-threatening floods and landslides.
Areas under Signal No. 1 are southern Quezon, Mindoro, Marinduque, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Cuyo Islands, Calamian Group of Islands, Antique, rest of Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, northern Negros Oriental, Cebu, northern Bohol, Southern Leyte, and Dinagat Islands.
Signal No. 2 has been hoisted over Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, including Burias and Ticao Islands, Romblon, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Aklan, Capiz, and northern Iloilo.
PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said Urduja is moving faster at 15 kph but maintained its westward track towards Eastern and Northern Samar.
The tropical cyclone has maximum sustained winds of 80 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 110 kph.
Aside from Urduja, PAGASA is also monitoring a low-pressure area east of the country.
As of noon yesterday, Aurelio said the LPA was spotted 2,180 kms east of General Santos City and is expected to enter the country’s area of responsibility by Tuesday.
There is a possibility that the LPA will intensify into a tropical depression and will have the local name “Vinta.”
More than 38,000 people have moved to evacuation camps, local officials said, after days of heavy rains unleashed by the approaching tropical cyclone caused floods and landslides on Samar and Leyte.
These islands, with a combined population of about 4.5 million, bore the brunt of super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name “Haiyan”) four years ago, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing.
Ferry services on the two islands remain suspended due to rough seas, with three fishermen also missing despite government warnings against sailing, the regional Office of Civil Defense said.
A baby girl and a woman were also injured in landslides near Tacloban City, it said in a report.
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