Pagasa warns of persistent rainsBy Jeannette I. Andrade, Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon, Philippine Daily Inquirer
The “habagat” (southwest monsoon) is not done yet with Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon as it continues to bring rains, enhanced by Typhoon “Karen,” which has left the country’s area of responsibility and moved on to the southern part of Japan.
Forecasters warned of possible flash floods and landslides as a result of intermittent moderate-to-heavy rains expected over the Cordillera Administrative Region and the provinces of Quirino, Nueva Ecija and Aurora.
On Sunday night, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) warned residents in low-lying areas in Metro Manila of heavy flooding.
At 6:10 p.m., the weather bureau raised the orange rainfall warning after heavy-to-intense rainfall (45 mm to 65 mm per hour, or up to 65 liters collected in one square meter of container in an hour) was observed over the cities of Manila, Pasay, Taguig, Pasig and Marikina for the past two hours.
The rainfall warning also covered the cities of San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, Taguig, Pateros and the southern portion of Quezon City.
As of Sunday afternoon, at least three major roads in the metropolis were flooded, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.
The southbound lane of Chino Roces Avenue under Magallanes Interchange in Makati City was not passable to light vehicles as of 5:05 p.m. due to tire-deep flooding, reports from the MMDA Metrobase showed.
Both lanes of Edsa-P. Tuazon tunnel in Quezon City were under gutter-deep water since
3 p.m. but remained passable to vehicles as of press time.
The MMDA said vehicles on the southbound lane of Edsa-Taft Avenue were moving slowly because of the gutter-deep flooding.
Parts of the metropolis were also flooded on Saturday due to heavy rains, forcing more than 200 people to leave their homes.
Weather forecaster Samuel Duran told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the rains pounding Metro Manila was spawned by the enhanced southwest monsoon, which continued to affect Luzon and portions of the Visayas.
Based on surface and satellite data analyses, the bad weather in the metropolis is expected to persist until Tuesday, Duran said.
Communities near Metro Manila also saw floods over the weekend.
The body of a man believed to have drowned amid the heavy downpour was fished out of San Mateo River in Rizal province before noon on Sunday.
Residents of Barangay (village) Dulong Bayan 1 in San Mateo town found the body at around 11 a.m., said Vicente Tomazar, director of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).
“He could have been in the water for two days already. The body was already bloated,” Tomazar said.
Police Officer 2 Jun Angeles of the San Mateo police said the man could have drowned in Rodriguez town and was swept toward San Mateo.
The weekend downpour caused the water in San Mateo River to rise to 18.20 meters on Saturday morning, Tomazar said. The critical water level is 19 m.
In Laguna, Jen Sorel Jasareno, head of the DRRMC, said the water level in still-flooded towns of the province had risen “by a few millimeters” during the past two days.
“We noticed the flood rose again reaching our garage. Here in Sta. Cruz (Laguna), most parts are still under knee-deep flood,” Jasareno said.
Emil Hernandez, a hydrologist of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, said water from upland areas and river tributaries caused the flood to rise.
He said the water level stayed at 13.35 m despite the downpour, or half a meter down from its reading following the monsoon rains in early August.
Tomazar, however, said the downpour would slow down the drop in the lake’s water level.
Last month, the monsoon flooded several lakeshore towns in Laguna and Rizal provinces and kept some 62,000 people in more than 200 evacuation centers, according to a report from the DRRMC in the region.
Sixty public elementary and high schools, half of which are also flooded, are still being used as evacuation centers in Laguna as of September 12, according to the Department of Education.
Electricity has not yet been restored in the flood-hit areas.
Duran said a low-pressure area had been developing east of Mindanao, but he assured the public that it was still too far away to have any effect on the country.
In its 5 p.m. forecast, Pagasa said other parts of the country would have partly cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms, mostly in the evening.
Pagasa warned of strong to gale-force winds, brought on by Karen, on the northern seaboard of Luzon, particularly in Ilocos Norte and Cagayan, where the sea is expected to be rough to very rough.
The weather agency advised fishing boats and other small seacraft not to venture out into the sea, and alerted larger vessels about big waves. With a report from Niña Calleja