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Epic flood in Metro Manila caused by record rainfall

September 26, 2009 5:42pm
The rainfall brought by tropical storm "Ondoy" to Metro Manila and nearby areas in a span of six hours on Saturday was the most in recorded history, surpassing the previous record for the metropolis in 1967, a weather bureau official said.
The incessant downpour brought by tropical storm 'Ondoy' has turned several parts of Metro Manila into a virtual water world. - GMANews.TV


Nathaniel Cruz, weather services bureau head of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), told GMANews.TV that the total rainfall from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday surpassed the highest 24-hour rainfall that the weather bureau recorded 42 years ago.

Cruz said the total rainfall from "Ondoy" in the first six hours of the storm, which measured 341 millimeters, broke the record for the highest 24-hour rainfall of 334 millimeters in metropolitan Manila recorded by Pagasa in June 1967. It was still raining at the time of this posting, as flood waters brought large portions of a mega city of over ten million to a virtual standstill. [See: Storm 'Ondoy' makes landfall, causes widespread flooding]

Climate change?

“We were able to break that record in a span of six hours. Today, we really experienced an extreme weather event," he said.

Cruz also said the amount of rain caused by "Ondoy" in six hours is almost equal to the average monthly rainfall in Metro Manila, which he pegged at 392 millimeters.

Ibig sabihin nito, ‘yung ulan natin ng anim na oras, halos malapit nang maabot ‘yung kalimitang dami ng ulan natin buwan-buwan (This means our rainfall for six hours today is nearly equal to our average monthly rainfall)," he explained.

Cruz attributed the extreme rainfall caused by "Ondoy" to climate change.

“This could be again a manifestation of climate change. Due to climate change, we should expect more extreme weather events like extreme rainfall," he said.

He added that other factors such as Metro Manila’s poor drainage system, pollution, and garbage problem might have worsened the effects of the heavy downpour that ‘Ondoy’ brought to the area.

“Maybe 10 years ago, maaaring hindi ganito kabaha (The floods might have not been this bad). The heavy flooding might have been caused by these other factors," he said.

Many residents said Saturday's floods were the worst ever in recent decades, and appeals for help from those stranded in rooftops or inside their houses poured in. Major streets in Manila went under water, and even an underground pedestrian walkway in Makati was inundated up to street level.

Cruz also said that the extreme weather event might be nature’s way of calling the public's attention to human activities that contribute to climatic fluctuations. “Parang paalala lang ito sa mga tao," he said.

Ondoy (international code name Ketsana), the 15th tropical cyclone to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility, slammed into the eastern side of Luzon Island from the Pacific Ocean before noon Saturday with maximum winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. [See: Metro Manila, 25 provinces placed under state of calamity]

The storm battered Central Luzon Saturday and was expected to be 230 km west-northwest of Iba, Zambales by Sunday morning as it exits towards the South China Sea. - GMANews.TV