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Urduja unloads over 1,000 mm of rain on Philippines; Life-threatening flood risk continues into Monday

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 17, 2017, 11:19:37 AM EST

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Tropical Storm Urduja will continue to unleash life-threatening flooding rain and mudslides as it crosses the Philippines through Monday.

Urduja, known globally as Kai-tak, will fail to strengthen into a typhoon. However, lives and property remain in peril as the tropical storm is unleashing a catastrophic amount of rainfall.

More than 1,067 mm (42 inches) of rain has inundated Guiuan on the island of Samar in the Eastern Visayas since the middle of last week. In 24 hours alone, 780 mm (nearly 31 inches) poured down.

To the north, Borongan City Airport has recorded 813 mm (32 inches) since Urduja began lashing the Philippines.

There are unconfirmed reports of three deaths due to Urduja, including a child, according to GMA News Online. The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has confirmed a total of 19 injuries and zero deaths as of Sunday morning, local time.

The NDRRMC reports that a total of 4,327 families have been evacuated from portions of Samar Island. In total, nearly 222,000 people have been affected.

Philippines 12/17

Twenty-six people were reportedly killed and an additional 23 are reported missing in landslides in the eastern Philippines, according to Rappler.

"The slow movement of Urduja is leading to the excessive rainfall," AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

Outside of the Eastern Visayas where localized totals may top 1,000 mm (40 inches), amounts around 300 mm (12 inches) will be common along Urduja's path.

Other residents across the central Philippines should prepare for possible evacuations as the torrential rain threatens to inundate more communities, force rivers out of their banks and damage bridges. Additional landslides may be triggered.

The combination of flooding and mudslides can lead to road closures and flight cancellations. The downpours and gusty winds accompanying Urduja can prevent rescue crews from reaching some communities.

The threat from the tropical storm led to the suspension of classes late last week, according to a report from NDRRMC.

Luzon will escape the heaviest rainfall from Urduja. However, localized flooding and mudslides may still unfold across eastern and southern Luzon.

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Dangerous seas will also be stirred around the Philippines, creating hazards for shipping interests.

The NDRRMC reports that 670 rolling cargoes and 7,500 passengers are stranded in the ports across the central Philippines. This includes in the National Capital Region.

After impacting the Philippines, Urduja may regain strength across the South China Sea this week as it heads toward the Malay Peninsula.

If Urduja tracks far enough to the north, heavy rain may spread across southern Vietnam later in the week.

Meanwhile, attention in the Philippines will turn toward a new tropical threat brewing in the southern Philippine Sea.

As this new system tracks to the northwest during the next week, it could bring additional rain and wind to the Philippines.

Next system

This storm has the potential to become stronger than Urduja, meaning a greater risk for wind damage if it takes aim at the Philippines.

The risk for flooding and mudslides would also be exacerbated across the Philippines with the ground left oversaturated and rivers high from Urduja.

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