Manila: Typhoon Phanfone, locally known as Ursula, made landfall in the Philippines on Tuesday with sustained winds of up to 150 km per hour and caused cancellations at airports, ports and bus stations, affecting thousands of travelers on Christmas eve.
According to a Philippine weather agency PAGASA report, the level three typhoon – out of maximum 5 – may cause heavy rains, flooding and landslides in the central part of the archipelago, Efe news reported.
The islands of Dinagat, Siargao, Visayas and Negros are likely to be severely affected by the typhoon, which reached the Philippines at 04:45 p.m. (local time) with sustained winds of 120 km per hour.
“Residents in these areas are advised to take appropriate measures to reduce the potential impact of flooding and rain-induced landslides, especially in areas identified to be highly to very highly susceptible to these hazards,” the report said.
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year in the country, an archipelago made up of more than 7,000 islands with a population that is mostly catholic.
More than 50 people have died in 2019 due to typhoons and tropical storms, even though this season has been less intense as compared to previous years.
The Philippines is hit by between 15 and 20 typhoons each year during the rainy season, which usually begins in May or June and ends in November or December.
In November 2013, Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit Philippines – with winds up to 315 km per hour – caused 6,300 deaths, with more than 1,000 people missing and 14 million affected.