Urduja intensifies into tropical storm

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Urduja intensified into a tropical storm early Thursday afternoon, December 14, as it continued to threaten Samar Island. Its international name is Kai-tak.

In a bulletin issued past 2 pm on Thursday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Urduja already has maximum winds of 65 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gustiness of up to 80 km/h.

The tropical storm is already 90 kilometers east southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, still moving west at 7 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Urduja is expected to make landfall in Eastern Samar on Friday morning, December 15.

Signal number 2 is now raised over:

Signal number 1, meanwhile, is up in:

PAGASA warned that Urduja is bringing moderate to heavy rain within its 400-kilometer diameter.

Aside from the areas under warning signals, scattered to widespread rains are also expected in the Visayas, Bicol, Caraga, and Northern Mindanao on Thursday. Residents should watch out for possible flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

"Baka tayo ay nagpa-party na, masyado tayong festive mood. Paki-monitor lang po 'yung ating information sa PAGASA. Every 3 hours po tayo nagbibigay ng bulletin.... Sana po maging safe tayo ngayong Christmas season," said PAGASA Weather Division chief Esperanza Cayanan in a news briefing late Thursday morning.

(We might already be partying, we might be in a very festive mood. But please monitor the information from PAGASA. We issue bulletins every 3 hours....I hope we will be safe this Christmas season.)

Fishermen and others with small sea vessels are also advised not to venture out into the eastern seaboards of Bicol and Eastern Visayas due to moderate to rough waters.

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Urduja as of December 14, 2 pm. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Storm Urduja as of December 14, 2 pm.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

– Rappler.com