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‘Ambo’ gains strength, targets Bicol and Eastern Visayas

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Typhoon “Ambo” (international name: “Vongfong”) continued to gain strength on Thursday, packing a potentially devastating combination of torrential rains and violent winds on its way to Eastern Visayas in the next few hours.



The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Thursday morning raised tropical cyclone warning Signal No. 3 over Sorsogon, eastern section of Albay, Northern Samar, and the northern parts of Eastern Samar and Samar.

The areas under Signal No. 2 were the southeastern portion of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, the rest of Albay, Burias Island, northern portion of mainland Masbate, Biliran, and the rest of Eastern Samar and Samar.

Signal No. 1 was hoisted over the southern portion of Aurora, southern Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, rest of Quezon, Marinduque, eastern portion of Romblon, and northern Leyte.

“Ambo” is expected to land on Northern Samar or the northern part of Eastern Samar Thursday afternoon or evening before heading toward Sorsogon late Thursday.

At around 7 a.m. Thursday, the typhoon was at 185 kilometers (km) east-southeast of Catarman, Northern Samar or 110 km east-northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar.


The typhoon continued to strengthen while approaching the country and may still grow into a more powerful storm prior to its landfall. Its maximum winds has increased from 130 kilometers per hour (kph) to 155 kph, while its gustiness increased from 160 kph to 190 kph.

PAGASA said heavy to intense with at times torrential rains have started to affect Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Samar, while moderate to heavy with at times intense rains will prevail in Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate, Biliran, Leyte, and Southern Leyte.

By Friday, heavy to intense with at times torrential rains may affect Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Masbate, while moderate to heavy with at times intense rains are expected in Northern Samar, Quezon, Aurora, Marinduque, and Romblon.

PAGASA is calling on people to be on their guard against storm surge, flooding, and landslides.

Weather specialist Ariel Rojas advised the public to stay away from the coast of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Quezon, and Aurora in the next 48 hours.

Along with large swells, the storm surge approximately 1 to 3 meters high may cause potentially life-threatening coastal inundation, the agency said. Sea travel will be risky for all types of sea craft over the coasts of areas with tropical cyclone warnings.

Rojas also warned of violent winds and heavy to torrential rains in the typhoon’s eyewall that may begin affecting Northern Samar and the northern portions of Samar and Eastern Samar in the next 12 hours.


Rojas said the typhoon has shifted and is more likely to make landfall over Eastern Visayas. It is now moving generally west at 15 kph.

After its landfall, PAGASA said “Ambo” will likely be in the vicinity of Ligao, Albay on Friday morning; and in the vicinity of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya by Saturday morning.

He said the weather disturbance may maintain its strength while traversing Luzon toward the weekend.

Metro Manila may also experience stormy weather by Friday due to the outer circulation of the typhoon, Rojas said. Scattered rains may prevail Metro Manila until Saturday

By Sunday, “Ambo” may have already left the Luzon landmass and is estimated at 70 km south-southwest of Basco, Batanes.

“Ambo” is seen to weaken into a severe tropical storm when it leaves the country’s area of responsibility by Monday.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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