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Brace for more rains, floods

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Intense rainfall slammed Metro Manila and other parts of the country last Friday and Saturday, triggering flooding on major thoroughfares and low-lying areas and bringing traffic to a standstill for several hours that stranded thousands of commuters.

Weather forecasters warned that the monsoon rains may continue into midweek that may trigger more flooding and landslides over parts of Luzon and the Visayas.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said a low-pressure area (LPA) north of Batanes and a tropical cyclone off the Pacific Ocean with international name “Conson” are enhancing the southwest monsoon or “habagat” that has been dumping rains over areas facing the West Philippine Sea.

The LPA, which is already a tropical depression according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, has already left the country’s area of responsibility before Saturday noon, while storm “Conson” continues to move to the north or away from the Philippines, but both weather systems continue to induce monsoon rains.

The southwest monsoon will continue to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains over the Metro Manila, Cavite, Bataan, Zambales, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, and La Union.

PAGASA warned residents in these areas against possible floods and landslides.

Light to moderate rains with isolated thunderstorms will also prevail over Western Visayas and the rest of Luzon.

MONSOON RAINS

PAGASA said monsoon rains will still be experienced over Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Zambales, and Bataan today.

Metro Manila, meantime, may experience moderate to occasional heavy monsoon rains.

Visayas and the rest of Luzon will have cloudy skies and light to moderate rains and thunderstorms, while partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers and thunderstorms will prevail over Mindanao.

By Monday until Tuesday, the southwest monsoon will continue to bring monsoon rains, which may trigger floods and landslides over Metro Manila, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.

Visayas, Caraga and the rest of Luzon will be cloudy with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms, while the rest of Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers and thunderstorms.

By Wednesday until Friday, moderate to heavy rains will be experienced over Metro Manila Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Zambales, Bataan, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro and Palawan.

Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will prevail over the rest of Luzon and Western Visayas, while the rest of the country will have generally fair weather with isolated rain showers and thunderstorms.

3 BRIDGES WASHED OUT

Yesterday, three detour bridges in the remote town of Busuanga in Palawan were washed out and destroyed by persistent heavy rains that began last week.

Washed out were the Sto. Niño Bridge, Bintuan Bridge, and Balugo Bridge – all in the northern part of Busuanga, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) said.

Following the incidents, Gudy Aguilar, MDRRMO,officer, said town residents now have to take the long route to get to their destinations.

In Manila, two teens died and four others were injured when an old wall in Sta. Cruz, Manila, collapsed due to heavy rains and strong winds early yesterday.

Residents on Oroquieta Street were roused from sleep by the screams of people scampering away from their homes as the concrete wall collapsed.

Arjhelyn Jhoyce Viriña, 15, and her sister Mary Hope, 14, were unconscious when rescuers found them. However, they died a few hours after they were taken to a hospital.

Arnold Gomez, 35, and Rommel Idio, 31, were taken to hospitals where they are currently recuperating. Two others, Pedro Ebalbuena, 32, and James Cichon, 15, also suffered injuries but they were both treated on site.

In Bataan, several barangays in Dinalupihan town are submerged in floodwater, the the Metro Bataan Development Authority reported. The heavy rains and flooding prompted Governor Abet Garcia to order the suspension of classes in all levels, both private and public, yesterday.

Based on its 24-hour rainfall monitoring, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather observer Nelson Goli said the amount of rainfall reached 154.8 millimeters (mm) between 8 a.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday.

The amount of rainfall, which is more than one-fourth the total average rainfall in August, is considered “intense,” said Goli.

But the amount of accumulated rainfall may still be lower than the 455-mm rainfall dumped by tropical storm “Ondoy” in 2009.

With the current weather condition, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Alvarado directed the Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO) to order the city and municipal disaster offices to alert residents of low-lying areas, particularly the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Paombong, against possible flashfloods.

Alvarado said that residents of the mountainous towns of Angat, Doña Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray,San Miguel, and San Jose del Monte City  must also be alerted.

RED ALERT

Meanwhile, La Mesa Dam in Quezon City has been placed on red alert effective noon yesterday as its water level has reached 79.62 meters, short by 0.53 meters from its 80.15-meter spilling level.

As of 2:30 p.m. yesterday, water level already rose to 80.02 meters.

Dam authorities have already alerted residents living along Tullahan River of possible flooding.

Communities that may likely be affected by flooding are Fairview, Forest Hills, Quirino Highway, Papri, Goodwill, Sta. Quiteria, and San Bartolome in Quezon City; Barangay Ligon along North Luzon Expressway in Valenzuela; and Malabon.

La Mesa Dam has no gates, allowing the excess water to spill and flow into the nearby Tullahan River. (With reports from PNA, Mar T. Supnad, Freddie C. Velez, and Franco G. Regala)

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