Urduja weakens; tail-end of a cold front brings rain

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MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Urduja (Kai-tak) further weakened late Monday morning, December 18, after crossing the province of Palawan.

In a bulletin issued past 11 am on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Urduja is already 90 kilometers north northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, moving west toward the West Philippine Sea at 18 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The tropical depression now has maximum winds of 45 km/h from the previous 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 60 km/h from the previous 90 km/h. (READ: EXPLAINER: How tropical cyclones form)

Only Palawan remains under signal number 1. PAGASA said scattered rains will persist in the province, so residents "must undertake appropriate measures against flooding and landslides and coordinate with their local disaster risk reduction and management offices."

Sea travel is also not advised in Palawan. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

Urduja made landfall in the country 6 times:

Urduja, which was earlier a tropical storm before weakening into a tropical depression, left at least 26 people dead and 46 others missing, confirmed the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday.

Urduja dumped heavy rain that triggered floods and landslides as well as disrupted travel, with its effects first felt in Eastern Visayas. (LOOK: Houses in Eastern Samar flooded due to Urduja)

Below are the top 5 areas which received the most rainfall in terms of millimeters (mm) last Friday, December 15.

In a 24-hour period that began last Thursday, December 14, Guiuan had received nearly two months' worth of rainfall in just one day, making it the hardest-hit overall, so far.

In a statement on Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave an assurance that "vital services, such as preparedness and response to disasters or calamities shall continue with their operations even during holidays."

Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a stockpile of 368,000 family food packs worth P223 million, food and non-food items worth P393 million, and available standby funds amounting to P245 million.

The DSWD earlier said around 221,386 persons or 50,653 families across 4 regions are affected. (READ: #ReliefPH: Help victims of Urduja)

Based on its latest forecast track, Urduja will leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday, December 19.

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Urduja as of December 18, 11 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Forecast track of Tropical Depression Urduja as of December 18, 11 am.

Image courtesy of PAGASA

Low pressure area

Meanwhile, the low pressure area (LPA) outside PAR – which used to be a tropical depression – is now located 1,500 kilometers east of Mindanao.

PAGASA advised the public and local officials to continue monitoring updates on the LPA, since it could still redevelop into a tropical cyclone and enter PAR before Christmas.

"Kapag malayo pa 'yung system, very unstable, very uncertain, kaya hindi pa tayo makapagbigay ng direktang sagot kung ano ang mangyayari," said PAGASA forecaster Obet Badrina in a news briefing late Monday morning.

(When the system is still far, it's very unstable, very uncertain, that's why we can't give a definite answer yet on what will happen.)

In the meantime, the tail-end of a cold front is also bringing light to heavy rain to Calabarzon, Bicol, Aurora, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon on Monday. Residents of these areas should watch out for possible flash floods.

The northeast monsoon is also affecting the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, which is experiencing scattered rainshowers. Due to the surge of the northeast monsoon, temperatures are also lower.

The Visayas and Mindanao will only have isolated thunderstorms. – Rappler.com