MANILA— More rains will drench Luzon on Thursday night even as Typhoon Ulysses moves away from the island, after leaving the worst flood in years and trapping some residents atop roofs of their homes in the capital region and nearby provinces, PAGASA said.
Ulysses was 200 kilometers west of Iba, Zambales at 4 p.m., the weather bureau said. While crossing the West Philippine Sea, it slightly weakened, with its sustained winds now down to 120 kilometers per hour and 150 kph gusts. It had peaked at speeds of 155 kph, with gusts of over 200 kph.
On Thursday night, moderate to heavy rains will continue over the Cordilleras, the eastern portions of Cagayan and Isabela, Zambales, Bataan, Aurora, Cavite, the western portion of Batangas, and Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, said PAGASA.
Residents in these areas should watch out for possible floods and landslides, the state weather forecaster said in a press briefing.
"Basa na po ang mga lupa d'yan dahil sa mga naging pag-ulan dulot hindi lang po ni Ulysses, kundi pati rin po ng mga nagdaang bagyo, kaya manatili pong alerto at handa sana ang ating mga kababayan," he said.
(The ground there is already soaked due to rains not just from Ulysses but other recent storms so we hope the people will stay alert and ready.)
PAGASA said light to moderate with at times heavy rains will also hit Western Visayas, the Samar Provinces, Metro Manila, and the rest of Luzon.
The weather agency has downgraded wind signals to level 1 in the following areas:
- Western portion of Pangasinan (Bautista, Alcala, Malasiqui, Santo Tomas, Santa Barbara, Mapandan, Mangaldan, Dagupan City, Calasiao, San Carlos City, Basista, Bayambang, Urbiztondo, Mangatarem, Aguilar, Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon, Labrador, Infanta, Mabini, Dasol, Sual, Alaminos City, Burgos, Agno, Bani, Bolinao, Anda)
- Western portion of Pampanga (Magalang, Mabalacat, Angeles City, Porac, Floridablanca, Arayat, Mexico, Santa Ana, San Fernando City, Bacolor, Santa Rita, Guagua, Lubao, Sasmuan)
- Lubang Island
Thirty to 60 kph winds may hit these areas within 36 hours, said PAGASA.
Ulysses is expected to leave the country's area of responsibility on Friday, said the agency.
Tens of thousands of homes in low-lying suburbs were submerged by the floods, prompting residents to scramble onto rooftops awaiting rescue.
Ulysses, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, battered a nation still reeling from Rolly, the world's most powerful typhoon this year that killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes early in November.
"Rest assured, the government will not leave anybody behind," President Rodrigo Duterte said in a national address, pledging shelter, relief goods, financial aid and post-disaster counseling.
The latest typhoon, which has also left four missing, comes as the Philippines is still grappling with a wave of COVID-19 infections and a battered economy.
In some suburbs east of Manila residents took refuge on their flooded homes.
"Just a few steps remaining on our third floor and we have yet to see any rescuer," said Carla Mhaye Suico, a resident in Pasig City while sheltering with 15 family members and neighbors.
Roughly 40,000 homes had been either fully or partially submerged in Marikina City, its mayor, Marcelino Teodoro, told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo calling the situation "overwhelming" and the worst since a typhoon flooded large swathes of Manila in 2009.
"The local government cannot handle this," Teodoro said, requesting motorized boats and airlifts.
Nearly three million households in and around Manila were without power as people waded through waist-high floods, carrying valuables and pets.
Coast guard officers had to swim in flood waters as high as electricity poles, while rescue workers used rubber boats and makeshift floats to carry children and the elderly to safety.
Big waves and strong winds in Manila Bay budged a tanker, damaging a bridge.
Flights and mass transit in Manila were suspended while the coast guard stopped port operations. Government work was suspended and financial markets were shut.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences around 20 tropical storms a year that often continue on their track to hit Vietnam, China and Taiwan.
- With a report from Reuters