Ambo maintains strength, continues to hover northern part of Samar province

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) — Typhoon Ambo has maintained its strength as it continues to hover to the northern portion of Samar province, said the state weather bureau.

The eye of Ambo (international name: Vongfong) was located in Catarman, Northern Samar as of 7 pm.

According to Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA) latest update as of 8pm, the typhoon packs maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph.

PAGASA said that Samar provinces, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes will experience tonight heavy to intense rains Meanwhile, there will be moderate to at times heavy rains over Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and the rest of Eastern Visayas.

Meanwhile, tropical cyclone wind signals are up in parts of Luzon and Visayas.

Signal No. 3:

-Sorsogon

-Albay

- Masbate including Ticao and Burias Islands

- Catanduanes

- southernmost portion of Quezon (Pagbilao, Atimonan, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Plaridel, Unisan, Gumaca, Pitogo, Perez, Alabat, Quezon, Tagkawayan, Calauag, Lopez, Macalelon, General Luna, Catanauan, Buenavista, Guinayangan, Mulanay, San Narciso, San Andres, San Francisco)

-Camarines Sur

-Camarines Norte

-Northern Samar

- northern portion of Eastern Samar (Jipapad, Arteche, Maslog, Dolores, Oras, San Policarpo, Can-avid, Taft, Sulat, San Julian, Borongan City, Maydolong)

-northern portion of Samar (Calbayog City, Sta. Margarita, Gandara, Pagsanghan, San Jorge, Matuguinao, San Jose de Buan, Catbalogan, Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas, Tarangnan, San Sebastian, Hinabangan)

-Biliran

The third signal means that winds produced by Ambo could uproot trees, topple power poles, destroy crops and bring considerable damage to structures within at least 18 hours.

The bureau hoisted Signal No. 2 in the following areas:

-Marinduque

-Romblon

-Laguna

-Batangas

-northernmost portion of Leyte (Calubian, San Isidro, Tabango, Leyte, Capoocan, Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel, Babatngon, Tunga, Alangalang, Sta. Fe, Palo, Tacloban City, Jaro)

-the rest of Samar and Eastern Samar

Areas under the second signal will experience strong to damaging gale/storm-force winds during the passage of the typhoon.

Signal No. 1 has been raised in:

-Aurora

-Nueva Ecija

-Metro Manila

-Cavite

-Rizal

-Bataan

-Pampanga

-Isabela

-Nueva Vizcaya

-Quirino

-Tarlac

-Zambales

-Oriental Mindoro

-Pangasinan

-Ifugao

-Benguet

-La Union

the rest of northern portion of Leyte (Villaba, Kananga, Matag-ob, Palompon, Ormoc, Merida, Isabel, Ormoc City, Albuena, Pastrana, Dagami, Tanauan, Tabontabon, Tolosa, Barauen, Julita, Dulag)

- the northeastern portion of Capiz (Pilar)

- the northeastern portion of Iloilo (Carles, Balasan, Estancia, Batad),

-Northern Cebu (Medelin, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Bantayan, Santa Fe)

Strong to near gale-force winds during the passage of the typhoon are expected in these areas.

PAGASA said that the typhoon is expected to exit the country next week on Monday afternoon or evening.

Safety measures

Authorities have taken safety measures due to the threat posed by Ambo.

Officials in Northern Samar have started with preemptive evacuation of their residents.

Northern Samar Incident Commander Jay Acebuche said they are coordinating with the Department of Education so they can use public school classrooms as temporary shelters.

Acebuche noted that while 'challenging,' they will enforce physical distancing and wearing of face masks in evacuation sites to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.

The Department of Health reminded local government units setting up evacuation centers to allot wider space to ensure social distancing.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said separately that disaster relief protocols are ready under Oplan Listo, and that evacuation centers have been told to adhere to social distancing on a "per-family basis." He also assured that there are enough relief goods on standby as families may be forced out of their homes due to strong winds and heavy rain.

Governor Edwin Ongchuan suspended nonessential work in both the public and private sector in Northern Samar on Thursday.

The Philippine Coast Guard cancelled all maritime activities in the country.

PCG said suspended cargo vessel and fishing boat operations will resume once the weather improves.

Power system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines assured the “reliability of communications equipment, availability of hardware materials and supplies necessary for the repair of damages to facilities, as well as the positioning of line crews in strategic areas, to facilitate immediate restoration work.”