HEAVY rainfall because of the prevailing southwest monsoon, or the habagat, intensified by a low-pressure area outside of the country will likely cause heavy flooding in most parts of Luzon and Western Visayas until Wednesday, the state weather bureau warned Saturday.
Disaster officials, meanwhile, said necessary preparations for possible floods and evacuation of flood-prone areas are now under way. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has directed the Armed Forces to activate its Disaster Reduction Task Force and prepare for possible preemptive evacuations.
The prevailing southwest monsoon is expected to bring strong to gale-force winds that can fan turbulence and giant waves in Luzon’s waters, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.
Another weather system, a low-pressure area outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility is enhancing the habagat 350 kilometers north of Itbayat, Batanes, increases the possibility for Luzon to experience rough seas and moderate to heavy rainfall.
In an interview over state run dzRB, Pagasa weather forecaster Elvie Enriquez said that there is a “low” chance for the LPA to intensify into a tropical cyclone.
Another low pressure area is expected to bring more heavy rainfall already experienced in most parts of the country by next week.
The agency forecast 52 kilometers per hour (kph) to 63 kph winds in Metro Manila, Batangas and Palawan provinces’ western coast as well as in Zambales, Bataan, Cavite and Occidental Mindoro provinces.
Waves up to 4.5 meters high are also possible in open seas there, Pagasa continued.
In its 24-hour weather forecast also issued Saturday, the weather bureau said the habagat is affecting Luzon and Western Visayas.
Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon as well as Mindoro and Palawan are at risk for flash floods and landslides that could be triggered by the habagat rains.
The rains that started Wednesday this week have prompted the cancellation of classes and caused heavy flooding in most parts of Luzon.
Continued rains have placed most major dams and water ways on red alert.
A red alert has been raised at the La Mesa Dam as water level reached 79.52 meters, just 53 centimeters short of the 80.15-meter overflow level. The dam is likely to inundate if the rainfall will continue for the next 24 hours, authorities said.
The water from La Mesa is likely to affect the low-lying areas along the Tulyahan River from Fairview, Forest Hill, Quirino Hi-way, Capri, Goodwill, Sta. Quiteria and San Bartolome in Quezon City, Lingunan in Valenzuela, and Malabon.
All the residents living in those areas are advised to be alert for possible increase in the water level downstream.
The Ipo Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, meanwhile, has started to open three of its gates after the water level reached 102.30 meters, above of its spilling level of 101.00 meters.
The water from Ipo Dam is likely to affect the low-lying areas on the Angat River.
Families near the Marikina River, meanwhile, were ordered to evacuate after the Marikina city government raised Alert Level 3, as the river’s water level rose to 17.5 meters Saturday.
Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said he feared that the river’s water level may reach the critical level of up to 20 meters due to the water flowing from the upstream Rizal province.
The state weather bureau meanwhile, warned of possible “rough to very rough” sea conditions off the western seaboard of central and southern Luzon, including Metro Manila.
Pagasa based its warning on the onslaught of strong to gale-force winds associated with the enhaced monsoon rains.
“Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out into the sea,” the state weather bureau said.
The state weather bureau, meanwhile, asked local government units to monitor the weather situation from Sunday evening to early Monday morning for any suspension of classes on Monday.
Authorities also warned residents living in flood-prone areas to be alert for the possible rise in the water level downstream and to take appropriate action.
The inclement weather caused more flights bound for Manila to be diverted to Clark International Airport due on Saturday, the Manila International Airport Authority said.
The supply of electricity to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 4 was also interrupted after a commercial billboard standing near the airport’s power lines on the Domestic Road collapsed around 1 p.m.
“The collapsed billboard affected the Terminal 4 power that is now running on generators. Meralco is already in the scene to fix affected power lines,” said the MIAA-Media Affairs Division in a statement.
Diverted to Clark were domestic flights from Tagbilaran, Tuguegarao, Dipolog and Davao, and one international flight from Hong Kong.
As expected, motorists and commuters experienced heavy traffic after various parts of Metro Manila were flooded by heavy rains caused by a low pressure area, the Metro Manila Development Authority said Saturday.
Leonard Bias, MMDA Flood Control Information Center chief, said the heavy downpour flooded major thoroughfares.
Gutter deep floods slowed down traffic at the intersection of Araneta Avenue and Eulogio Rodriguez Avenue and Circumferential Road 3 (C-3 Road) corner Andres Bonifacio Avenue, both in Quezon City; Quirino Avenue, Taft Avenue, Pedro Gil, Antipolo Street, Maceda Street, Padre Burgos Street, Espana Boulevard, Lacson Street and Victoria Street, all in Manila.
Some roads were not passable for motorists near the Elliptical Circle in Maysilo in Madaluyong City, and Mother Ignacia Street and Panay Avenue in Quezon City.
The MMDA-FCIC also reported 10-inch deep floods in Makati on the westbound Cloverleaf of Jose P. Rizal Street and near the University of Makati.
Commuters traveling from Laguna to Manila also saw heavy traffic on the South Luzon Expressway and in the northbound lane of Skyway in Taguig City for almost two hours.
MMDA chairman Emerson Carlos said various parts of Metro Manila are prone to floods but waters are subsiding faster because of the government’s pumping stations and other flood-control projects in the metropolis.
Carlos said more pumping stations will be built and repaired next year in the National Capital Region.
The P22-billion project was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority to address the perennial flooding in Metro Manila and nearby areas.
Over in Manila, several people were feared injured when a concrete wall collapsed in Sta. Cruz Saturday morning, even as Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada immediately dispatched more than 50 rescuers and other emergency units to assist the affected families.
As of 10 a.m., two people have been pulled out alive from the rubble where about four shanties were pinned down by concrete debris, according to Johnny Yu, head of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).
Immediately after hearing about the incident, Estrada dispatched the MDRRMO’s rescue units at the corner of Doroteo Jose and Oroquieta Street, just outside the Manila City Jail. With PNA
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