Typhoon Ursula makes landfall in Eastern Samar

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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) made landfall in Salcedo, Eastern Samar, at 4:45 pm on Tuesday, December 24, dampening the Christmas Eve celebration of areas already feeling the typhoon's strong winds and heavy rain.

In a briefing past 5 pm on Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ursula is already 20 kilometers east northeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The typhoon slightly accelerated, now moving west at 25 kilometers per hour (km/h) from the previous 20 km/h.

It maintained its strength as it hit land, with maximum winds of 120 km/h and gustiness of up to 150 km/h.

Tropical cyclone wind signals remain in place. According to PAGASA, Ursula's eyewall is now bringing violent winds to the southern part of Eastern Samar. (READ: Why is it now called tropical cyclone 'wind' – and not 'warning' – signals?)

Signal No. 3 (winds of 121 km/h to 170 km/h)

Signal No. 2 (winds of 61 km/h to 120 km/h)

Signal No. 1 (winds of 30 km/h to 60 km/h)

PAGASA also elaborated further on what to expect in terms of winds:

Tuesday evening, December 24

Wednesday morning, December 25

Wednesday afternoon, December 25

In terms of rainfall, this is PAGASA's latest outlook:

Between Tuesday, December 24, and Wednesday noon, December 25

Between Wednesday noon and late evening, December 25

The heavy rain could trigger flash floods and landslides. (READ: FAST FACTS: Tropical cyclones, rainfall advisories)

There may also be storm surges up to 2 meters high in several coastal areas of these provinces:

Travel remains risky in the eastern seaboards of the Philippines due to rough sea conditions. Seas will also be rough in the inland waters of Southern Luzon and the Visayas on Tuesday evening, and in the western seaboards of Southern Luzon on Wednesday afternoon.

The Philippine Coast Guard said there have been at least 23,789 stranded passengers in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, and Southern Visayas.

There are canceled flights for Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

Based on its latest forecast track, Ursula is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday, December 27.

Forecast track of Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) as of December 24, 2019, 5 pm. Image from PAGASA

Forecast track of Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) as of December 24, 2019, 5 pm.

Image from PAGASA

Ursula is the Philippines' 21st tropical cyclone for 2019, exceeding the yearly average of 20. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2019)

Ursula is also the second tropical cyclone for December, after Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri). PAGASA earlier said it was expecting one or two tropical cyclones during the month.

In December 2018, the Philippines had a deadly tropical cyclone during Christmas – Tropical Depression Usman. It left 156 people dead and 105 others injured in Eastern Visayas, Bicol, and Mimaropa, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last June 14. – Rappler.com