During the last week of September, Northern Luzon was hit with a double whammy of typhoons that hit the region. Last September 27, typhoon Pedring (international name: Nesat) made landfall, and stayed in the country for about 3 days. Then, after a day of continuous sunshine, Quiel (international name: Nalgae) followed suit. Ironically, the typhoons hit exactly two years after Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) wreaked havoc in the country, making a record for one of the most destructive typhoons of all time.
So far, 15 major storms and typhoons had visited the country, each one causing substantial damage to affected areas. But it seems that we have already learned our lesson, and we took excellent measures to minimize the damage caused by these natural calamities, in spite of the fact that there’s no stopping the powerful forces of nature.
Pedring was shaping up to be a powerful typhoon, almost approaching Ondoy in terms of intensity. The most unique property of the typhoon is its extremely huge size, reaching 650-km in its maximum diameter, nearly covering the whole nation. I still have work the day the storm hit, and it’s a heavy ordeal on my way to work, not only because of the storm, but because Ninoy Aquino Bridge was closed for renovation, so there’s no direct route to the workplace. Thank God for the company shuttle.
The typhoon passed without any major damage in Tarlac, thankfully.
However, I didn’t expect that Quiel, the next typhoon, would be more damaging, even though it’s weaker than Pedring. Sunshine came back last Friday (Sept 30). I was still monitoring the almost horizontal path of the typhoon, but I never expected the typhoon to hit Northern Luzon suddenly, as if out of nowhere, around afternoon on October 1 (Saturday), with its eye near Baguio City, Benguet.
It resulted in severe flooding in Sta. Ignacia, my hometown; something that never occurred for a very long time, since SI has an average elevation of 52-m above sea level and is really a mountainous area. Water level is knee-deep in the town capital, and managed to be chest-deep in San Vicente, the barangay immediately north of the capital, as well as in Baldios, a barangay to the south.
Camiling, the neighboring town, was less fortunate. 90% of the town was submerged, and this isn’t the first time this year that this one occurred. The town also experienced severe flooding around the last week of June, when the typhoon Falcon hit.
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it’s really bewildering that typhoons are getting more and more stronger. And what happened last week is caused not only by the strong wind speed, but by another factor: volume of rain.
Raindrop fell in buckets, and fell unwavering for five continuous hours. Even our house is flooded, though only by a few inches, thankfully.
It is similar to what happened when Ondoy hit MM, reaching 10.18” in precipitation, the equivalent of one month worth of rain.
Times are changing, and it can only get worse.