PAGASA warns of ‘Ondoy’-type rain despite El Niño

The weather bureau on Monday warned the public to brace for a typhoon that could spawn heavy rains, similar to Typhoon “Ondoy,” which inundated Metro Manila and nearby provinces in 2009, killing more than 400 people.

At a news conference, the administrator of the Philippine, Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Vicente Malano said the probability of such a typhoon was high, despite the prevailing El Niño dry spell.

“During an El Niño, it is hotter, and the air has a higher capacity to evaporate water,” he said.

Clouds are formed of water droplets due to evaporation, and when these droplets become heavy, they fall as rain, PAGASA said.

“We are not looking into the number of tropical cyclones that would enter the country when there is El Niño. But we are considering the intensity of the rains the cyclone would bring,” Malano said. “You can expect an Ondoy-like cyclone.”

Science and Technology Undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology chief Renato Solidum, along with Malano, launched a warning system that would raise public awareness of storm surges.

The heavy rains will not necessarily bring relief to six million customers of the Manila Water Co. Inc., which said water service interruptions would be experienced again because of the dwindling supply of water from the Angat Dam in Bulacan as well as the Ipo Dam.

In an advisory, Manila Water said Angat Dam’s elevation dipped to 162.78 meters as of Sunday, or near the critical level of 160 meters.

“As a result, Manila Water may need to make further operational adjustments affecting water supply for our customers,” the company said in a statement.

Despite the onset of the rainy season, no sufficient amount of rainfall fell at the Angat Dam, National Water Resources Board executive director Sevillo David Jr. told a news conference in Quezon City.

He called on various local government officials to “control or limit” the use of water and “impose [conservation] measures.”

He said the NWRB would have to determine the water condition of the two dams and to come up with a decision whether to reduce water allocation for domestic supply and irrigation.

Because of the lack of rains, Manila Water said they would be forced to adopt contingency measures, such as the rotational water service interruptions.

“We have been expecting to slowly fix the situation once there is enough rainfall to fill our dams,” the water company said.

In March, the La Mesa Dam reservoir reached its critical level of 69 meters, leading Manila Water to fall short of the 150 million liters a day it needs to meet its customers’ requirements.

READ: Rain showers in Luzon

Topics: Typhoon “Ondoy
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