Tropical storm “Pablo” is expected to hit landfall in eastern Mindanao this morning and if the forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) holds, it may be even worse than last year’s “Sendong” which devastated the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in northern Mindanao.
“Sendong” was a year-end storm that claimed more than 1,000 lives and caused damage worth at least half a billion pesos. While the storm hardly affected Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas, its impact did remind Cebuanos about the need to take weather updates more seriously than they give it credit for.
The estimate that “Paolo” was stronger than last year’s “Sendong” and even “Ruping” in 199s was based on satellite images which Pagasa said “painted a thousand words.”
For those unfamiliar with reading raw weather, the Pagasa warning should prepare the public for the days ahead.
The storm is no pushover. It covers 700 kilometers which makes it bigger than Sendong whose size was estimated at 400 kilometers at its height.
That it would affect Cebu was evident when Pagasa said the typhoon’s path could expand to 1,200 km before the week ends.
The prospect of another storm is especially harrowing for those areas hardest hit by Sendong. How well their local officials prepare for it and later respond to the emergency is a good barometer to use in deciding whether to vote for them in next year’s election.
The same applies in Cebu which, while not classified as a prime target for Pablo’s wrath, has prompted people and service institutions to start preparing for heavy rains, landslides and flooding.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he targets “zero casualty” when the storm breaks.
Residents and visitors shouldn’t wait for rescue teams.
With the weekend full of dire warnings of the typhoon that has the same force as 1990’s Ruping, which left Cebu without electric power for a month, people shouldn’t have to wait before starting their own emergency preparations.
Set aside relief food, water, matches, flashlights, essential medicine and a radio with fresh batteries.
Pagasa is available on Twitter which makes updates even faster.
Keep within reach the mini-directory of hotline numbers which appears in page 1 in today’s CDN issue.
Safety tips go a long way in sparing those whose homes are in Pablo’s path from a lot of inconvenience and tragedy.
Better to be safe than sorry.