'Grinch' Ursula ruins Christmas for hundreds of Filipinos


Posted at Dec 25 2019 09:08 AM | Updated as of Dec 25 2019 01:20 PM

'Grinch' Ursula ruins Christmas for hundreds of Filipinos 1

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Over a hundred families woke up Christmas Day without a home as typhoon Ursula battered central Philippines with heavy rains and destructive winds.

In Tacloban City, Leyte, over 100 homes were destroyed in the coastal Anibong district after Ursula smashed the center of the country on Christmas eve.

Around 40 families meanwhile lost their homes this Christmas in Kawayan town in the province of Biliran due to the typhoon.

'Grinch' Ursula ruins Christmas for hundreds of Filipinos 2
Around 40 families in Biliran lost their homes due to Typhoon Ursula on Christmas eve. ABS-CBN News

Hundreds more were unable to go home to their families this Christmas after the storm shut down sea ports and forced flight cancellations.

As of Wednesday, Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla said nearly 6,000 evacuees have returned to their homes.

"So far, hindi naman talaga ganun ka-grabe ['yung bagyo]...Mas less na barangay ang binaha," he told radio DZMM.

(The storm is not that bad... Fewer villages were flooded.)

Ursula made landfall 4 times in the run-up to Christmas Day, with the latest landfall recorded in the Gigantes Islands, Iloilo at 2:30 a.m.

It continues to bring "very destructive winds" and heavy rains over Aklan, the northern portion of Antique, and Romblon, PAGASA said in its 11 am bulletin.

The typhoon was spotted in the vicinity of Libertad, Antique as of 10 a.m., and packs winds of up to 140 kph and gusts of up to 195 kph. It is moving in a westward direction at a speed of 20 kph.

It is moving towards Semirara Island, Caluya Island, and Sibay Island, the weather bureau said.

Throughout Christmas Day, PAGASA said heavy rains would prevail over Masbate, northern Negros Provinces, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras, Romblon, Calamian Islands, Cuyo Islands, and Mindoro Provinces. 

The weather bureau also warned of possible storm surges of 1 to 2 meters in the said areas within the next 24 hours.

Light to moderate rains during thunderstorms are meanwhile expected over Bicol Region, the rest of Visayas, the Southern Tagalog region, Metro Manila, Marinduque, Aurora and the northern portion of mainland Palawan.

PAGASA hoisted storm warning signal no. 3 over the following areas, where winds could uproot big trees, peel off roofs and cause "moderate to heavy damage to exposed communities." 

- Romblon
- southern Oriental Mindoro (Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao, Bongabong, Bansud)
- southern Occidental Mindoro (Calintaan, Rizal, San Jose, Magsaysay, southern portion of Sablayan)
- Calamian Islands (Busuanga, Coron, Culion)
- Capiz
- Aklan
- northern Antique (Caluya, Libertad, Pandan, Sebaste, Culasi, Tibiao, Barbaza, Laua-an)

Winds ranging from 61 to 120 kph, which may bring "light to moderate" damage, meanwhile are expected in 24 hours in the following areas where storm signal no. 2 is hoisted:

- southern portion of Quezon (Macalelon, General Luna, Catanauan, Mulanay, San Narciso, San Andres, San Francisco)
- Marinduque
- rest of Oriental Mindoro
- rest of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Albay, Sorsogon
- Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands
- Cuyo Islands
- extreme northern portion of mainland Palawan (Linapacan, El Nido, Taytay, Araceli)
- Iloilo
- Guimaras
- rest of Antique

Until Thursday, storm signal no. 1, which means winds could "partially unroof" houses made of light materials and cause "significant damage" to rice crops — was, meanwhile, hoisted over the following areas: 

- Bataan
- Metro Manila
- Rizal
- Cavite
- rest of Quezon
- Laguna
- Batangas
- Camarines Sur
- Camarines Norte
- Albay
- Sorsogon
- rest northern mainland Palawan (Dumaran, San Vicente, Roxas)
- Cagayancillo Islands
- rest of Negros Occidental
- northern Cebu including Bantayan Islands (Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bantayan, Sta. Fe, Madridejos, Bogo City, San Remigio, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Tuburan, Asturias, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod, Borbon, Tabogon)
- Negros Occidental

PAGASA warned against sea travel in areas where storm warning signals are raised since rough sea conditions are expected.

Ursula is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Saturday morning.

Visit the ABS-CBN Weather Center for the latest weather updates. 

-with a report from Jenette Fariola-Ruedas, ABS-CBN News