CAGAYAN DE ORO—Tropical Depression “Onyok” dissipated into a low-pressure area Saturday morning, but tropical rainstorms continued to threaten low-lying areas across the country which have already sustained rainfall reaching almost 36 inches due to Typhoon “Nona.”
According to the latest situation report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 117 areas were still flooded due to Nona while electricity in eight cities and 45 towns still had not normalized three days after Nona dissipated over the West Philippine Sea.
According to multi-satellite data from the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Nona dumped over 7.9 inches of rain over much of Luzon with parts of northeastern Luzon gettring over 30.4 inches.
The highest rainfall totals during the time Nona was in the country was found in the typhoon’s path in the central Philippines where rainfall totals were measured at over 35.4 inches, according to Nasa’s Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM.
Meanwhile, the LPA that used to be Onyok was in the vicinity of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on Saturday morning but the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said there will be more rain in much of the country.
Pagasa said this was due to the northeast monsoon, locally called amihan, which continues to affect Northern and Central Luzon and the tail-end of a cold front that is hovering over Southern Luzon.
Weather should gradually improve, Pagasa said, but cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms will be experienced over Mindanao, Bicol region, Western Visayas and the provinces of Aurora and Quezon.
Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms will prevail over Central and Eastern Visayas.
The northeast monsoon was the main cause of rains in Luzon where large farming communities have been submerged in mostly waist-deep floods from Typhoon “Nona” which hit Northern Samar Dec. 14 before making landfall in four other areas.
Nona isolated many areas of the country, preventing the NDRRMC from getting accurate data on the typhoon’s damage or even the number of fatalities and injuries.
According to the agency’s Situation Report No. 13 issued Saturday, the death toll remained at 34, but Agence France Presse cited reports from national and local disaster monitoring agencies placing the death toll at 41. The Standard’s independent sources placed fatalities at 56.
Poor farming communities in the main southern island of Mindanao were flooded Saturday after at least two rivers burst their banks, local disaster officials said.
“Almost the entire Philippines is experiencing rains. More floods are possible,” state weather forecaster Robert Badrina told AFP.
“We expect the rains to peak today. The weather will start to improve tomorrow,” he said.
Close to 10,000 people were evacuated from the poor farming region of Caraga in Mindanao before the latest storm.
In Agusan del Sur province, large portions of the national highway were inundated after a nearby river burst its banks, regional civil defense officer Manuel Ochotorena told AFP.
Another river in Davao del Norte province, roughly 100 kilometers away, also burst its banks, forcing residents out of their homes, provincial disaster officer Romulo Tagalo said.
In Luzon, 140,000 people displaced by floods and landslides triggered by Nona remained in evacuation centers and those living in low-lying areas are expected to stay there for a few more days, until after surface runoff from highlands have reached the lowlands.
As of 6 a.m. Saturday, the water elevation at Angat Dam was 213.29 meters (spilling level 212 meters); Ipo Dam 100.53 (spilling level 101 meters) and 17.42 meters in Bustos dam (spilling level 17.70 meters).
In Bulacan, one of the Central Luzon provinces prone to runoff flooding, the towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy, Pulilan and San Miguel continue to be submerged in water from Nona, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office reported on Saturday.
PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal, said that big volume of surface runoff, locally called “backflood,” cascaded in the low-lying villages of Bulusan (4 ft), Calizon (4 ft), Caniogan (1 to 2 ft), Frances (1 to 3 ft), Gatbuca (1to 3 ft), Gugo (1 ft), Meysulao (6 ft), San Jose (1 ft), San Miguel (1 to 3 ft), Sapang Bayan (5 ft) and Sta. Lucia (1 to 2 ft), all in Calumpit.
The village of Mandale in San Miguel town is under 2 to 3 feet; Barangay San Juan in Hagonoy is under 2 feet and Barangay Dulong Malabon in Pulilan under 2 feet.
Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has requested additional trucks from the Philippine Army to ferry stranded people, relief goods, bottled water and medicines to the affected areas.
At least 13,791 families were affected by the surface runoff, Mungcal said, adding that damage to crops and infrastructure is still being determined.
Alvarado also told local newsmen that relief and rescue teams have also been deployed in Hagonoy in anticipation of the surface runoff that will cascade there either Saturday or Sunday.