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Friday, October 15, 2010

'Megi' may dump as much rain as 'Ondoy' - PAGASA chief

MANILA, Philippines Tropical storm "Megi" (international codename) could bring the same amount of rain as Ondoy, the weather bureau said on Friday.

“If it enters, it would be a typhoon category. Ondoy is a tropical storm category. Ondoy would actually be of a lesser strength. However, if you start looking at the amount of rainfall that Juan (local codename) is going to bring, satellite imagery shows that the amount of rain it’s bringing is basically similar to what Ondoy had dropped in Metro Manila,” said Graciano Yumul, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Ondoy dumped one month's volume of rain in just a few hours, flooding large parts of the metropolis such as Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City, Manila, Marikina, Caloocan, and Muntinlupa. Floods were from "knee/neck-deep to roof-top deep."
Yumul said they expect Megi to intensify as it moves over a body of water. He said Megi is expected to be elevated to a typhoon category. When it reaches a certain speed, it will become a super typhoon.

As of posting time, PAGASA said Megi was expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) around midnight or early Saturday morning.

“The possible landfall area would actually be in the Cagayan-Isabela area. Then the forecast track line would be Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra and ultimately, it will exit Ilocos,” said Yumul.

As for Metro Manila, the PAGASA chief said the effects of Megi may or may not be felt when it enters the PAR.

“Of course, we are making sure that even people in Metro Manila are prepared for the simple reason that if the track line of tropical storm Megi would be deviated to a lower track line, then Metro Manila for that matter would be along the path of the track line,” he explained.

PAGASA said it came out with an early forecast to prepare the public especially those in Northern and Central Luzon.

“By Sunday afternoon, we will have more or less a firm idea in terms of the amount of rain, in terms of the speed and in terms of the areas affected,” he said.

On Friday, the weather bureau met with the Office of the Civil Defense and sent out warnings to fisherfolk along the eastern seaboard of northern Luzon. They also issued warnings to farmers who will soon be harvesting their crops.

“It's a recommendation, but if you start looking at the available MTSAT [Meteorological Satellite], right now, you can see that the wave height and winds are actually starting to get strong along the Philippine sea,” he said.

PAGASA advised the general public and local disaster risk reduction managers to prepare and take precautionary measures.

Fishermen were advised not to venture over the eastern and northern coasts of Luzon while farmers were advised to monitor weather updates.

Travelers were advised not to travel starting on Sunday morning, particularly in landslide prone areas of northern and eastern Luzon.

Ondoy affected nearly 1 million families or 5 million people. It resulted in 464 people killed and 529 injured.
Estimated cost of damage to infrastructure and agriculture amounted to P11 billion. 

Posted at 10/15/2010 5:28 PM | Updated as of 10/15/2010 5:41 PM

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