Tropical Storm Vamco (known locally as Ulysses) continues to track westwards across the Philippine Sea on Wednesday, November 11, and is forecast to strengthen into a typhoon before passing over central Luzon on Thursday, November 12. According to the latest bulletin from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) at 08:00 (local time) on Wednesday, Vamco will pass north of Catanduanes Island and Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte provinces on Wednesday, before making landfall over Polillo Island and mainland Quezon province late Wednesday to early Thursday. By Wednesday evening, Vamco will be a typhoon carrying winds of up to 155 kph (96 mph). PAGASA has issued a Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no.2 for much of Luzon, including Metro Manila, and a Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no.1 for many other areas. Heavy rainfall is forecast across central Luzon on Wednesday and Thursday, with dangerous seas making maritime conditions hazardous.
Flooding, landslides, and associated disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities are possible across Luzon during the passing of the storm. Philippine Airlines have already announced a number of flight cancelations for Wednesday and Thursday.
Tropical depressions, storms, and typhoons typically hit Eastern Visayas as well as Southern, Central, and Northern Luzon during the typhoon season between June and November. However, a number of storm systems in the past years have also affected Central and Western Visayas, as well as eastern, northern, central, and western Mindanao, and have reached the country outside the typhoon season. Local meteorologists attribute these changes to climate change. In general, approximately 19 storms and typhoons enter the country's area of responsibility every year, and PAGASA reports that at least six weather systems make a direct landfall.
These storm systems have the potential to unleash heavy downpours and powerful winds, as well as trigger a major storm surge that pose considerable hazards to human life and infrastructure. Despite a credible risk, the Philippines has inadequate preparedness and crisis response that increases the impact of storm systems on human communities, strategic infrastructure as well as travel and service delivery.
Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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