Typhoon Ruby Update

Update, Dec. 10 — No public storm warning signal is in effect in any part of the country. However flooding hazards remain. The storm killed at least 27 people and wrecked thousands of homes in central provinces. Now greatly weakened, the storm continues westward toward Vietnam.

Photos and details: Philippines Begins Typhoon Cleanup

I do not yet have any information about the Orthodox community at Palo, Leyte; I expect they were evacuated or directed to shelter, but I will be surprised if their homes have survived.

Update, Dec. 7, 2pm (Philippine time) — Typhoon HAGUPIT (RUBY) has crossed Samar Sea this morning as it continues to lose strength… starts to resume with its west-northwest track.

LEGAZPI, Philippines (CNN) — As Typhoon Hagupit pounds the Philippines with torrential rain, it’s threatening the country with a barrage of new dangers: huge storm surge, intense flooding and landslides.

A day after it made landfall near Legazpi, the massive cyclone crept across the country at a sluggish pace — about 15 kilometers per hour (9.3 miles per hour).

With such little movement, Hagupit has more time to dump relentless rainfall over the same areas, raising the potential for landslides.

With memories of last year’s devastating super typhoon fresh in their minds, more than 600,000 people had evacuated by Saturday, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. About 40 million people are in the path of the storm’s winds.

Residents packed shelters as high winds and driving rain battered the city. One of the city’s major fears is a storm surge that could reach 2-4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet).

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said that the storm is breaking up over the land mass of the Philippines, but will continue to pour heavy rain. He said 395 mm (15.5 inches) of rain were reported in Bororgan in 24 hours.

Gen. Gregorio Catapang, chief of staff of armed forces, said Sunday that soldiers were working to clear roads and airports so that emergency services could be delivered.

Eleven nations had offered assistance, including Australia, the United States, China, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Weakening before Manila

Hagupit should be significantly weaker by the time it reaches the capital city of Manila, but winds will still be higher than 100 kph (60 mph). The biggest threat in the capital will come from the heavy rainfall.

That will lead to flash flooding and mudslides, even in places far away from the storm’s center.

Despite the threats of danger, some residents in Legazpi ignored evacuation orders and vowed to stay in their makeshift beachside homes.

“I think we can handle the situation,” one man said. “If or when it gets worse, we’ll go to the evacuation center.”

A woman who lives at the coast was also defiant. “We’ve been here 25 years and seen many typhoons,” she said. “This one already feels stronger than Typhoon Haiyan (last year), but we won’t leave yet.”

Tacloban dodges bullet

One city farther south breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday.

In Tacloban, the streets were empty because residents had already evacuated. Last year, super typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving 200,000 people homeless.

At least 100,000 people evacuated the city before Hagupit, the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA Philippines said. That’s half the population of Tacloban.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez told CNN the city is without power but he’s seen only minor damage such as broken windows and downed trees. Many roads were flooded, but not impassable.

And there’s one bit of good news so far for the country: As of midday Sunday, no casualties had been reported.

“There was a lot of preparation,” OCHA spokeswoman Orla Fagan said.

“I think that the lessons learned were very hard ones in Tacloban … because there were so many lives lost, and I think they’ve really taken cognizance this time and really made an all-out effort everywhere to bring people to safety.”

Update, Dec. 6, 8pm (Philippine time)

Update, Dec. 6, 1pm — Hagupit (Ruby) has weakened anew into a Typhoon classification as it continues to move closer to Samar in a slow pace endangering Eastern Visayas and Southern Bicol area. The potential landfall area of this cyclone is along the northern part of Eastern Samar between 10PM-12MN tonight.

This typhoon will continue to enhance the Northeast Monsoon (Hanging Amihan) – bringing mostly cloudy and windy conditions and cooler temperatures across Northern and Central Luzon…becoming more frequent with possible occasional slight to moderate rains along eastern sections of Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, and Northern Quezon. The threat of flash floods and landslides are likely in hazard-prone areas especially along river banks and mountain slopes of the affected areas. Residents are advised to take necessary precautions.


Below are the regions or places in the Philippines that could be affected or that are being affected by the hazards generated by the current tropical cyclone.


  • Typhoon Force Winds (Gusts of more than 130 kph): Most parts of Samar Provinces, Sorsogon, Southen Albay, Masbate, Burias and Ticao Islands, Biliran Island, and eastern portions of Romblon – beginning Saturday afternoon (Dec 06) until Sunday afternoon (Dec 07). Read more…
  • Tropical Storm to Typhoon Force Winds (Gusts of 100-130 kph): Rest of Albay, Southern Camarines Sur (Rinconada), Virac, Catanduanes Area, Rest of Romblon, Northern Coastal Areas of Panay, portions of Northern Cebu incl. Bantayan Island, Leyte, and some portions of Southern Samar – beginning Saturday afternoon (Dec 06) until Sunday afternoon (Dec 07). Read more…
  • Tropical Storm Force Winds (Gusts of 75-100 kph): Camarines Norte, Rest of Camarines Sur incl. Metro Naga, Eatern portions of Southern Quezon incl. Bondoc Peninsula, Marinduque, some portions of Northern Panay, Rest of Northern Cebu, some portions of Central Cebu incl. Cebu City, Southern Leyte, and some portions of Dinagat Islands – beginning Saturday evening (Dec 06) until Sunday evening (Dec 07). Read more…


  • Possible coastal storm surge flooding of 4-5.5 m (13-18 ft) above normal tide levels…accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves can be expected along the coastal, inland lakes and beach front areas of Eastern Visayas and Eastern Bicol Region beginning Saturday afternoon onwards. Extreme damage is likely on this type of storm surge. Danger from Rip Currents or Rip Tides can be expected along the beach-front areas of Surigao del Norte, Rest of Visayas, Ragay Gulf, Visayan Sea and Eastern Luzon.


  • Heavy to Extreme Rains (150 mm or more): Samar Provinces, Leyte, Sorsogon, Albay, Masbate, Romblon, northern portions of Capiz and Iloilo, extreme northern part of Negros Occidental, and Northern Cebu. – tonight through Sunday afternoon (Dec 07). Read more…
  • Heavy Rains (100 mm to 150 mm): Southern part of Camarines Sur, Aklan incl. Tablas Is., rest of Capiz and Iloilo, rest of northern part of Negros Occidental, northern portion of Southern Cebu, Bohol, Southern Leyte, and Dinagat and Siargao Islands. – tonight through Sunday evening (Dec 07). Read more…
  • Moderate to Heavy Rains (30-50 mm): Rest of Bicol, Southern Quezon, rest of Visayas, and Northeastern Mindanao. -beginning Saturday morning Dec (06) through Sunday evening (Dec 07). Read more…

Update: Dec. 6, 7am — Downgraded from “Super” Typhoon; landfall expected this afternoon.

Tens of thousands of people fled coastal villages and landslide-prone areas in the central Philippines on Friday, as typhoon Hagupit bore down on eastern coasts of the island nation where thousands were killed in a devastating storm last year. Hagupit is Filipino for “smash” – in this country the storm is named Ruby.

Ports were shut across the archipelago, leaving more than 2,000 travelers stranded in the capital Manila, the central Bicol region and Mindanao island in the south, after the coastguard suspended sea travel ahead of the typhoon.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific canceled some of their flights to central and southern Philippines.

Areas yet to recover from last year’s category 5 “super typhoon” Haiyan, also known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, could be in the firing line again, the local weather bureau said.

“It’s better to evacuate early…We don’t want to experience what we went through during Yolanda,” said Gigi Calne, a housewife seeking shelter with about 3,000 others at a school in Basey, in Samar province, in central Philippines.

“It was difficult to save our family and ourselves because we moved too late.”

Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall, left more than 7,000 dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless or with damaged houses when it tore through the central Philippines in November 2013.

Hagupit was churning slowly across the Pacific on Friday, with the eye of the storm around 435 km (270 miles) southeast of the Philippines, the weather bureau said, packing winds of up to 215 kph (130 mph) near the center with gusts of up to 250 kph.

It is expected to slam into Eastern Samar or Northern Samar provinces in the central Philippines on Saturday afternoon, bringing torrential rain and 4- to 5-metre high storm surges, the weather bureau said.

About 10 million residents of the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions of the central Philippines are at risk of flooding, storm surges and strong winds. AccuWeather Global Weather Center said more than 30 million people would feel the impact of the typhoon across the Philippines.

Eastern Samar and the island of Leyte were worst-hit by 250 kph winds and storm surges brought by Haiyan. About 25,000 people still live in tents, shelters and bunkhouses more than a year later. In Tacloban City, Leyte, which accounted for about half of the death toll from Haiyan, about 19,000 people from coastal villages thronged into 26 evacuation centers, said Ildebrando Bernadas of the city’s disaster office.

“We are expecting to double that once we implement forced evacuations,” Bernadas said, adding about 95 percent of residents from coastal areas have been evacuated.

While the local weather bureau and the Japan Meteorological Agency predicted Hagupit making a direct hit on the central Philippines, Tropical Storm Risk, which tracks cyclones, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the US navy showed the storm veering north, closer to the capital Manila.

Mario Montejo, the Philippines Science and Technology Secretary, said the differences in the forecasting models were due to methodologies used, but said the actual track of the typhoon hews close to the local weather bureau’s model.

Tropical Storm Risk downgraded the typhoon to a category 4 on Friday – a level below “super typhoon” but still a very powerful storm – and forecast it would have weakened to category 3 by the time it made landfall.

Update: Dec. 5 — On Thursday, American and European computer models began to converge on an ominous forecast track that could take Hagupit on a slow, agonizing path across the heart of the Philippines. Among the areas at risk is Tacloban, a city devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) just 13 months ago.

(MORE: On the Ground After Typhoon Haiyan)

On Wednesday night U.S. East Coast time, the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) estimated Hagupit’s maximum sustained 1-minute wind speed at 180 mph, putting it in a tie with Super Typhoons Vongfong and Nuri in October as the most powerful typhoon of 2014.

As of 4 p.m. EST Thursday, JTWC lowered its estimate of Hagupit’s top winds to 160 mph, but that still makes it the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has declared Hagupit a “violent” typhoon, the highest classification on its scale, with 10-minute sustained winds of 130 mph. That ties Vongfong for the highest wind speeds of 2014 in JMA’s bulletins.

Hagupit moved into the waters east of the Philippines early Thursday local time, prompting that country’s weather agency (PAGASA) to give it the name Ruby. The Philippines has its own alphabetical list of names, separate from the international list, for tropical cyclones passing near or over its territory.

Forecast: Increasing Danger for Philippines

PAGASA has issued public storm signals for 21 geographic areas, mainly in the eastern parts of the country, spanning from Luzon in the north to Mindanao in the south. For portions of the central Philippines, PAGASA says winds of 61 to 100 kph (38 to 62 mph) are possible within 24 hours.

(FORECAST: Tacloban | Manila)

Confidence is now increasing that Hagupit will make landfall in the Philippines. Earlier computer model forecasts had disagreed, with the main American model (the GFS) forecasting Hagupit to turn north before reaching land, and the European model forecasting Hagupit to move west across the Philippines.

Thursday’s late-morning model runs came into much better agreement, with the American model much more in line with the European model scenario — a potentially disastrous scenario.

First, the typhoon is expected to approach the eastern shores of the central Philippines on Saturday local time. There is still some timing uncertainty, as the typhoon is expected to slow its forward motion. However, the most likely time frame for landfall appears to be Saturday evening local time (Saturday morning U.S. time).

During this initial period of contact with land, Hagupit will likely unleash its most powerful winds. It should be at least a Category 3 equivalent tropical cyclone by that time, but could easily still be a Category 4 or 5 storm. In areas where the wind blows onshore, very dangerous storm surge is likely.

As Hagupit grinds west or northwest across the Philippines, the danger will gradually transition from one of wind damage and storm surge to one of heavy rainfall.

Again, there is some uncertainty in Hagupit’s path and forward speed, but in general its center should move northwest in the general direction of Metro Manila. The process is expected to be agonizingly slow — potentially taking 72 hours to move from the eastern Philippines to Metro Manila.

In general, the slower a tropical cyclone moves, the higher its rainfall potential. Hagupit will be moving along very slowly over an area with rugged terrain. As a result, rainfall totals could be extraordinarily high, leading to landslides, debris flows, and life-threatening flash floods.

Storm Spares Small Pacific Islands

Earlier in its lifetime, Hagupit made its closest approach to the Yap Islands Wednesday evening local time, and the center passed north of the Republic of Palau Thursday morning.

Hagupit began to undergo a period of rapid intensification late Wednesday morning (U.S. East Coast time). According to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Hagupit became a super typhoon as of 2 p.m. EST Wednesday when its maximum sustained winds reached 150 mph — a sharp increase from 115 mph just six hours earlier. Another six hours later, Hagupit’s winds reached an estimated 180 mph.

The rapid intensification was the result of impressive upper-level “outflow channels,” basically air flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere spreading apart, or away from, the center of Hagupit. Those outflow channels near the top of the typhoon force air to rise more vigorously within its core circulation, allowing the central pressure to plummet and the typhoon’s winds to increase.

Hagupit is the seventh Western Pacific cyclone to reach super typhoon status in 2014.

Satellite view

Dec. 4 — Several provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao are now under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 1 due to Typhoon Ruby.

Weather bureau PAGASA says heavy rains and gusty winds as well as rough seas are expected in Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur, and Dinagat Province within the next 36 hours.

Alert levels have also been raised in many Philippine provinces on and around the typhoon’s path. The typhoon, last estimated 860 kilometers East of Surigao City, has intensified further and is now bearing maximum sustained winds of 195 kph with gustiness of 230 kph.

PAGASA says, it may still intensify as it moves west northwest at 20 kilometers per hour. PAGASA adds, it is still possible that Ruby may recurve to the northeast, but most forecast models point to the typhoon making a direct hit in Eastern Visayas, possibly in the Samar area, Saturday morning.


Northern Samar
Eastern Samar
Southern Leyte
Surigao del Norte
Siargao Island
Surigao del Sur
Dinagat Province

The following areas have suspended classes in all levels:


The following schools, colleges, and universities have also announced the suspension of classes:

  • University of the Philippines Visayas (Tacloban) (Classes to resume December 11)
  • Visayas State University (December 4 to 5)


The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) of the US Navy has categorized tropical cyclone ”Hagupit” into a super typhoon.

The JTWC said both models provided by the Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) and Global Forecast System (GFS) have been consistently showing Hagupit moving upward due to the weakening of the high pressure system.

The US weather bureau, however, said another model provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMF) shows Hagupit continuing its westward track into central Philippines, indicating that the weakening of the high pressure system may not be pronounced enough to make the weather system re-curve and move towards southern Japan.

Speaking to radio dzMM, PAGASA weather forecaster Samuel Duran said there is no definitive forecast yet on what course the typhoon will take. Nonetheless, he said local government units and residents in high-risk areas must still prepare for a possible evacuation.


Leyte is not taking any chances given Typhoon Ruby’s unpredictable track.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Petilla says residents in coastal areas in Leyte have begun to evacuate in anticipation of the typhoon.

Petilla said they activated their disaster response teams 2 days ago and suspended classes until the weekend.

Relocation sites have also been designated in every barangay. There areas were mapped out for possible hazards including storm surges.

“The weather is still okay but people have started to evacuate. We don’t know kung direct hit sa amin o hindi, but we decided to prepare for the worst. Even those who are not living along the coast, sa mga ilog, kahit wala sa ilog o coast, mga bahay na light materials i-eevacuate din namin yan.”

“We have learned a lot from Yolanda. Hopefully, we can use that now kung mag direct hit sa amin.  Sana hindi maulit ulit (yung sa Yolanda).”

Petilla also said that government agencies and NGOs in the province will meet tomorrow (Dec. 5) on typhoon preparations and possible clearing operations should the typhoon make landfall in the province.

He also reported that some residents have already resorted to stocking-up on food.

He also assured the public that prices will remain in check amid fears of panic buying.

“Expected yan na dadagsa ang mga tao na mamimili. I don’t see that as a problem… Ang DTI naman just like in Yolanda, they have been monitoring the price kapag may typhoon,” Petilla said.


Around 14,000 families in 47 coastal barangays in Guiuan, Eastern Samar may be evacuated on Friday before Typhoon Euby is expected to make landfall.

Guiuan Mayor Christopher Gonzales said they are preparing relief supplies for evacuees good for 2-3 days.

The local government has also identified school buildings as temporary evacuation centers but they are still checking if they can withstand the typhoon.

An inter-cluster organization will also check if private houses can be used for evacuation.

“We have identified several buildings both public and private because we don’t have ready evacuation centers as of the moment,” Gonzales said.


Eastern Samar does not have any disaster-resilient evacuation center.

But Levi Nicart of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said they are coordinating with local officers to prepare for Typhoon Ruby: “Since Yolanda, we don’t have disaster resilient evacuation centers because some of the evacuation centers are at the moment are still being constructed.”

They are now identifying possible evacuation sites aside from school buildings like municipal and barangay halls and elevated areas where tents can be set up.


In Iloilo, nearly 200 families are now being evacuated particularly those living near the waters.

Iloilo Provincial Administrator Raul Banias said they are hoping to finish preemptive evacuation today.

He adds that food supplies and transportation devices are already on standby in case Typhoon Ruby hits the province.

“We are ready for the typhoon and we will reposition logistics if necessary like vehicle supplies if needed… We have standby agreements with suppliers and nfa and we have 45 dump trucks on standby just in the eventuality the typhoon will hit Iloilo,” Banias says.


Government is mobilizing over P4 Billion in Quick Response Funds for Typhoon Ruby where bulk will go to the transport and social welfare departments.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad says, the QRFs are comprehensively released to the departments at the start of the year as part of the “General Appropriations Act”.

This means that the departments may conduct emergency response without fulfilling required conditions and processes that may take time during a disaster.

The national government can also draw from the 2014 national disaster risk reduction and management fund in able to fund programs that will deal with the aftereffects of Typhoon Ruby.


RED ALERT (Within 100 km radius from forecast track)
Aklan, Albay
Eastern Samar
Northern Samar
Occidental Mindoro
Oriental Mindoro

Camarines Norte
Camarines Sur
Metro Manila
Negros Occidental
Negros Oriental
Southern Leyte
Surigao del Norte

Agusan del Norte
Agusan del Sur
Nueva Ecija
Surigao del Sur

Father Silouan

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