A storm approaching on Christmas Eve is disrupting holiday travel in the Philippines, Asia’s largest Catholic nation.
Tropical storm Phanfone, called Ursula locally, is forecast to hit central Philippines on Tuesday. The 21st cyclone to hit the country this year, it packs sustained winds as fast as 100 kilometers per hour and gusts as strong as 125 kph, the weather bureau Pagasa said Tuesday morning.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have canceled some domestic flights and the coast guard banned sea travel in some affected areas
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have canceled some domestic flights and the coast guard banned sea travel in some affected areas, according to their social media posts and local reports. Filipinos typically leave for their hometowns to be with their families on Christmas, and hundreds of people are stranded in various ports already.
The storm is forecast to make landfall over Eastern Samar province Tuesday afternoon or evening as a severe tropical storm or typhoon, the weather bureau said. Several provinces in Luzon and Visayas have been placed on storm signal 2, the second-lowest in a five-level warning system, it said.
Visayas and southern Luzon may face heavy rainfall and flooding, and have an elevated risk of mudslides, according to AccuWeather.
About 20 cyclones pass through the disaster-prone Philippines each year, with Super Typhoon Haiyan killing more than 6,300 people in 2013.
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