MANILA, Philippines -- "Katrina" was no match to "Ondoy."
The 15th weather disturbance that hit the Philippines in 2009 dumped a total of 455 millimeters of rain in Quezon City alone in 24 hours, compared to the 250 millimeters of rain that Hurricane Katrina brought to New Orleans in Louisiana in the United States in 2005.
This was the report presented to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by Dr. Prisco Nilo, the chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) at a briefing of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Camp Aguinaldo on Sunday.
"We had more rains than Katrina," Ms Arroyo quipped.
Nilo said that in Tanay, Rizal, the total amount of rainfall last Saturday was 312 millimeters.
Nilo also told the President that cloud developments in the Pacific Ocean were being monitored by PAGASA.
"It has the potential to become a Low Pressure Area and might develop into another storm in the next few days," Nilo said.
The cloud developments may also take the path towards Luzon similar to "Ondoy."
Nilo said PAGASA had already issued warnings of possible flooding as early as September 24 and even raised storm signals the following day.
In a separate interview, he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that it was also the responsibility of people to heed the warnings issued by government.
"Instead of just watching the soap operas on TV, they should also watch the news," Nilo said.
Nilo said that at present, PAGASA could detect through satellite the strength of a rain band but not the intensity of rain, or the amount of rainfall.
He said that in contrast, a Doppler radar "can more or less accurately estimate the intensity of a rainfall per hour as well as the wind strength of a storm or a typhoon."
Nilo also explained that last Saturday's rains caused flash floods in Metro Manila because the area was a "small basin" compared to the amount of rain that "Ondoy" dumped in the capital in a few hours.
"It doesn't matter whether the rain is strong, if the basin is large then it would take several hours [for the flooding to take place]," Nilo said.