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Residents of Mother Ignacia Avenue and Samar Street in Quezon City leave their homes after heavy rains submerged their neighborhood. REM ZAMORA





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Rain brings instant flood to Metro

By Tarra Quismundo, Miko Morelos, Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:04:00 07/26/2010

Filed Under: Weather, Flood

MANILA, Philippines?Rainwater equivalent to more than a fourth of the volume brought in six hours by last year?s killer Tropical Storm ?Ondoy? (international codename: Ketsana) was dumped on Metro Manila in just two hours Sunday afternoon.

The downpour submerged large areas, tied up vehicular traffic and diverted domestic and international flights.

Heavy rains are expected Monday when President Benigno Aquino III delivers his first State of the Nation Address as the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), a band of heavy clouds and thunderstorms, is forecast to remain during much of the week.

A new low-pressure area was spotted some 170 kilometers northeast of Aurora province, the weather bureau said in an update posted at 5 p.m. Sunday. The ITCZ, however, remains the dominant weather system affecting the country, it said.

In Quezon City, the public safety office sent motorboats for rescue operations to Barangay Tatalon and Araneta Avenue as floodwaters rose to more than a meter.

On the ground level of the Skyway in Paraaque City, across from Robinson?s Hypermart, light vehicles got stalled in knee-deep floodwaters on the southbound lane, backing up vehicular traffic for hundreds of meters at about 2:45 p.m.

Due to poor visibility, two international and 11 domestic flights bound for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Pampanga.

Rains brought by the ITCZ dumped 90.3 millimeters of rainfall between 12 noon and 2 p.m., according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The Science Garden in Quezon City recorded an average of 45.15 mm per hour, roughly six times the amount of hourly rains considered heavy. Rains measuring more than 7.5 mm per hour is considered heavy.

In comparison, Ondoy dumped on Metro Manila and nearby areas 341 mm in six hours on Sept. 26, 2009, causing the worst flooding in decades. The deluge killed 464 people and destroyed or damaged 185,000 homes. Ondoy?s downpour averaged 56.33 mm per hour.

Next three days

Heavy rains would likely continue as PAGASA forecasts the ITCZ to dominate Philippine skies in the next three to four days.

A low-pressure area eyed near Eastern Samar over the weekend was no longer affecting the country?s weather as of Sunday, said PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio.

The PAGASA forecast cloudy skies, showers and thunderstorms in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and the Visayas in the next four days.

Social networking

Many of the flooding in major thoroughfares Sunday were reported real-time in social networking sites.

Online users reported flooding in major roads like EDSA (Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue) and Araneta Avenue in Quezon City, and streets around Ortigas Center and Makati City.

?There were streets that were not passable to light vehicles because of the flood. That?s why cars stopped, causing traffic jams,? said Robert Nacianceno, general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Portions of Elliptical Road, Philcoa and C.P. Garcia Avenue in Quezon City and a portion of Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City were also flooded, he said.

Pasay, Makati

Other areas like Leveriza Street in Pasay City, the bus terminal in Baclaran Redemptorist and the northbound lane of Edsa-Taft Avenue were flooded, but water was slowly receding, said Vergel Vicencio, telephone operator at MMDA Metrobase, which monitors the metropolis using closed-circuit television cameras.

A portion of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, formerly Buendia, was submerged in knee-deep floodwater causing heavy traffic jam and making it hard for light vehicles to pass.

Chief Insp. Jenny Tecson, spokesperson of the Southern Police District, said floodwaters rose on NAIA Avenue in front of the Pagcor casino, making it impassable to light vehicles.

Motorboats

Elmo San Diego, head of the Quezon City public safety office, said motorboats rescued stranded families and motorists.

?Victims will be brought to nearby schools and will just be allowed to go home as soon as water in their areas has subsided,? San Diego said.

He said about 150 families were affected by the flash floods, but no one was reported hurt.

The tactical operation center of the Quezon City Police District reported that at around 2:15 p.m. Sunday, several areas, including a portion of Commonwealth Avenue, had been declared impassable to light vehicles.

Police Officer 2 Cristituto Zaldariagga, officer on duty, said reports reaching him showed that in some areas along E. Rodriguez Boulevard near Araneta Avenue, ?water had risen to waist-deep and impassable to all vehicles.?

?Almost all the major routes in the city, were flooded, but only several isolated areas were declared impassable,? Zaldariaga said

Light vehicles were advised not to pass through Mayon and Dapitan streets in Quezon City.

In Manila, at least five major roads were flooded although they were still passable to light vehicles, said the Manila Police District Traffic Enforcement Unit (MPD-TEU).

Among the flooded areas in the city were Espaa Boulevard, and Antipolo and Maceda streets in Sampaloc, said SPO1 Francisco Ignacio of the MPD-TEU. Also flooded were Pedro Gil Street near Taft Avenue and Remedios Street in Ermita and Malate.

Eastern Metro Manila

Light to moderate rains poured on eastern Metro Manila on Sunday, but no significant flooding was reported in the areas traditionally known to be flood-prone.

The Pasig Rescue and Marikina Rescue units each said they had not monitored any significant flooding.

The tactical operations center of the Northern Police District, which has jurisdiction over the perennially flooded Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela cities) area, said there was flooding in several parts but the roads remained passable.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, water receded from most flooded areas, save for the portion of Araneta Avenue near Maria Clara Street in Quezon City, because the creek there overflowed, the MMDA said.

Fire in Pasig

Not even a steady rainfall, however, was much of a help after a fire hit a shop selling ceramic products in Pasig City and spread to neighboring houses.

The blaze started at 2 p.m. in a shop on San Francisco Street, Barangay Pineda, fire officers said. The fire reached the third alarm.

In Pampanga, Alexander Cauguiran, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) executive vice president, said the aircraft diverted to the DMIA included four from Cebu Pacific, three from Air Philippines, two from Zest Air, two from Philippine Airlines, and one each from Singapore Airlines and Seair.

In a text message, Victor Jose Luciano, CIAC president, said the aircraft were not able to land at NAIA due to poor visibility brought about by heavy rains.

The aircraft started landing at DMIA at around 12:30 p.m. Five of the 13 aircraft had left for NAIA at 3:30 p.m. With reports from Jeannette I. Andrade and DJ Yap; and Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon



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