Urduja weakens into tropical depression, but leaves 3 dead in wake of floods, destruction

December 17, 2017 - 9:36 AM
Screenshot of PAGASA forecaster explaining the status of Urduja as of 8 a.m Sunday (December 17).

MANILA – (UPDATE, 11:55 a.m.) Tropical storm “Urduja,” which spawned rains and flooding across a big part of southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas and killed at least three people, has weakened into a tropical depression and is now over the Samar Sea, state weather agency PAGASA said.

In the second briefing for Sunday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Monitoring Council, the NDRRMC spokesperson, Mina Marasigan, updated the number of evacuees and stranded persons.

Some 20,242 families or 80,719 persons in all evacuated from continuous rains and floods, per NDRRMC’s tally.

The number of those stranded in various ports in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol regions and Eastern Visayas and the NCR reached 15,534 passengers. At least 937 vessels were unable to sail.

Some areas in Sorsogon, Cebu, Leyte, Eastern Samar and Biliran reported having power outages at the height of Urduja.

Meanwhile, the NDRRMC was still validating reports from the field of casualties in the incidents of landslides, floods, vehicular accidents related to Urduja.

The NDRRMC kept its official tally of three dead, but was validating reports of three other possible fatalities. Six people remained missing, and 19 were injured, mostly in Region 8 (as confirmed by DOH)

Initial field reports had come in from the Department of Agriculture, but no exact estimates yet of damage to rice, corn, banana and coconut fields, mostly in the Visayas.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported partial damage to roads in Eatern Samar and Compostela Valley, with initial estimates of P35 million.


According to its 8 a.m. weather bulletin, scattered to at times widespread rains will continue over Southern Quezon, Batangas, Mindoro Provinces, Marinduque, Romblon, and Northern Palawan including Cuyo and Calamian Group of Islands.

Residents of these areas were advised to take precautions against flooding and landslides and coordinate with their local disaster risk reduction and management offices.

On Sunday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Monitoring Center said it was verifying reports from local governments that three persons died in separate circumstances at the height of Urduja’s onslaught.

Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez said on radio that almost all of the 110 barangays were affected by the five-day rains and flooding, but 21 were worst hit. They accounted for most of the 300 families who had to seek refuge in evacuation centers.

The three fatalities included a woman buried in a landslide; a woman who fell into a manhole; and an elderly resident who apparently suffered a heart attack while seeking refuge on a rooftop.


Meanwhile, rains over Bicol Region and Visayas are forecast to gradually weaken.

All areas under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 2 have been downgraded to TCWS No. 1, and 30-60kph winds are expected in the next 36 hours in these places:

Southern part of Occidental Mindoro, southern part of Oriental Mindoro, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate including Burias and Ticao Islands, and northern part of Palawan including Cuyo and Calamian Group of Islands,Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras, northern portion of Negros Occidental, northern portion of Cebu, Northern Samar, Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, and Biliran.

Sea travel over the seaboards of areas under TCWS was ruled out.

Meanwhile, at 7:00 AM today, the Tropical Depression outside the PAR was estimated based on all available data at 1,990 km East of Mindanao (5.0°N, 144.0°E) with maximum sustained winds of 40 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 50 km/h.

At 7:00 a.m. Sunday, the center of Tropical Depression Urduja was estimated based on all available data at 50 km Southwest of Catarman, Northern Samar (12.2°N, 124.3°E).

It had maximum winds of up to 60 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph; and was forecast to move west at 15 kph.