Typhoon Philippines Vongfong
Thousands of homes are without power in provinces that took direct hit, as country still deals with effects of coronavirus pandemic Image Credit: Twitter/Screengrab


  • Northern Samar, Bicol region take direct hit
  • Typhoon, equivalent to Hurricane Category 4, brings gusts of up to 212 km/h
  • Power outages reported in provinces that saw its wrath, while country deals with effects of coronavirus pandemic
  • Storm seen "weakening", but could dump moderate to heavy rains, trigger flooding in Manila, surrounding provinces

"Why are you like this? It's too much."

So goes a tweet from a resident sharing a video (below) of Typhoon Vongfong's wrath early on Friday (May 15, 2020).

It sums up the resignation and suffering in Philippine provinces that took a direct hit from Vongfong, as the superstorm made five landfalls and left a trail of destruction early on Friday, according to initial reports.

Residents shared clips of the fearsome storm, kicking up the sound of howling wind as it approaches their district.

Video courtesy: Chic Grutas Ras

Thousands of homes are now without power in many towns and cities, while some malls had been turned into evacuation centres, amidst "social distancing" rules in place.

The eyewall of Vongfong (locally called "Ambo") brought violent winds and dumped billions of gallons of intense rains over the provinces in eastern Visayas and the Bicol region.

The southern provinces near the National Capital Region, where Manila is located, are expected to bear the brunt of the eyewall in the coming hours. Manila is currently under Storm Signal No. 2.

Vongfong is the first storm of 2020, an unusual phenomen on during the peak "summer" months in the Asian country, dumping huge amounts of rain to the areas on its path.

The equivalent of Hurricane Category 4, Vongfong started pummeling the Pacific-facing eastern islands late on Thursday (May 14), with gusts of up to 132 mph (212 km/h).

The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center, which has been tracking Vongfong, expects the typhoon to continue wreaking havoc in the island of Luzon until Saturday (May 16).


Floods, landslides

The storm is seen triggering floods and landslides, as well as strong winds to parts of eastern Visayas, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, and Masbate, Quezon Province, Calabarzon and Manila, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) warned.

20200514 typhoon
Residents brave rains and strong wind as they walk past uprooted trees along a highway in Can-avid town, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines Typhoon Vongfong makes landfall. Image Credit: AFP

Given the storm's rotation, weathermen said the typhoon "continues to weaken" but dumping moderate to heavy rain that could trigger floods.

20200514 vongfong
A motorist braving rains and strong wind maneouvers along a highway littered with fallen coconut trees in Can-avid town, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines as Typhoon Vongfong makes landfall. Image Credit: AFP

Residents of coastal areas were also advised to evacuate as a "storm surge" of up to 4.0 meters was expected. Along with large swells, this storm surge may cause potentially life-threatening coastal inundation 

As of 8am May 15, 2020:

Typhoon Vongfong ("Ambo") maintains strength, makes landfall over San Andress, Quezon province.

The eyewall region of Typhoon Ambo is bringing destructive winds and heavy to intense rainfall over Bondoc Peninsula in Southern Quezon and Burias Island.

Chic Grutas Ras

Landfall Information:

  1. San Policarpo, Eastern Samar (12:15 PM May 14)
  2. Dalupiri Island, Northern Samar (10:15 PM May 14)
  3. Capul Island, Northern Samar (10:30 PM May 14)
  4. Ticao Island, Masbate (12:00 AM May 15)
  5. Burias Island, Masbate (3:00 AM May 15)
  6. San Andres, Quezon (7:45 AM May 15)

Heavy Rainfall Outlook:

Today: Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Bicol Region, Quezon, Aurora, Marinduque, Laguna, Rizal, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino.

Tomorrow (16 May): Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Aurora, and Nueva Ecija.

Earlier report:

The typhoon hit land in San Policarpo, Eastern Samar at around 11am on May 14 and clipped towns and villages in the northern portion of the Samar province.

Typhoon damage
First pictures of the damage wrought by Typhoon Vongfong in Eastern Samar, Philippines Image Credit: TWitter/@Renzel John Copico

The eyewall brougth violent winds and heavy to intense rains over the area. The northern portion of Samar and southern portion of Northern Samar will be affected by the eyewall in the coming hours.

Rainfall outlook:

May 15, Friday

Heavy to intense rains over Burias Island, Bicol Region, Quezon, Aurora, Marinduque, and Romblon. Flooding and rain-induced landslides may occur in highly to very highly susceptible areas during heavy or prolonged rainfall.

Bulan Philippine Typhoon
Bulan, Sorsogon residents reinforce their houses ahead of the typhoon on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Image Credit: Biboi Asuncion Hilotin

Earlier Vongfong report:

The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center is forecasting even further intensification over the next 24 hours. Vongfong is expected to reach Category 4 status with winds of 132 mph (212 km/h). That would also make it a super typhoon which would compound the knock-on effects of the pandemic on the island-nation.

Vongfong formed on Tuesday and rapidly intensified into a fierce pinwheel of a storm streaking toward the island nation. The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii said

The Phiippines already had a rough year, with a volcanic eruption in January and a climbing number of coronavirus cases. The approaching typhoon could pile up the country's troubles as it buffets the most populous island with heavy rain and strong winds towards the weeken.

Double typhoon in December 2019

In December, two typhoons battered the country – Kammuri on December 2-3 and Phanfone on December 24, 2019. Phanfone, known locally in the Philippines as Ursula, made landfall in the central part of the country, killing at least 16 people, damaging homes and tourist areas.

Typhoon Kammuri (locally named Tisoy) made 4 landfalls from December 2-3 in Sorsogon, Masbate, Marinduque and Oriental Mindoro, causing hundreds of flight cancellations and thousands of passengers stranded.

On Wednesday, Filipino weathermen have advised farmers to harvest their crops as soon as possible as Vongfong has already spun up from a weak tropical storm to a robust Category 2-equivalent storm in less than 24 hours.

Vongfong, the Northern Hemisphere's first named storm, has undergone textbook rapid intensification, a meteorological process where typhoons see wind speeds increase, said weathermen.

(With inputs from agencies)