Typhoon ''Ineng,'' the ninth to hit the country since January, dumped rains on Ilocos Norte and inundated low-lying areas, leaving two people dead and injuring two as well as heavy damage to agricultural products and livestock before it veered away to Taiwan.
READ: ‘Ineng’ gains strength
A state of calamity has been raised in Ilocos Norte due to widespread floodings as the typhoon barreled through Northern Luzon early dawn Saturday and headed towards Batanes in the far north.
Officials of the capital Laoag immediately put the riverside city under a state of calamity, with Mayor Michael Keon suspending work and classes in all levels “due to heavy rainfall and flood hazards.” READ: #WalangPasok: Class Suspensions for today, August 24, 2019
In a related development:
• Several flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were delayed while others were diverted to Clark International Airport because of the weekend bad weather.
The weather bureau issued a lightning red alert in NAIA that resulted in the delay of arrival and departure of eight—four international and four domestic—flights in Terminals 1, 2 and 4 on Saturday morning.
“Due to the lightning red alert that prevailed over NAIA from 8:54 a.m. to 9:51 a.m. there were no ground movement as a safety measure,” the Manila International Airport Authority management said in a statement.
READ: Rainy weekend amid ‘Ineng’
Lightning alerts are adopted in most airports worldwide as a safety measure to protect ramp workers from death or injury caused by a lightning strike.
As of 10 a.m., Ineng, moving west-northwest at 30 kph, was spotted 140 kilometers north northwest of Basco, Batanes.
It was packing maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 125 kph.
Signal No. 2 was still hoisted over Batanes and the Babuyan Islands while Signal No. 1 remained in effect in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Kalinga, northern Abra, and Ilocos Norte.
Weather specialist Loriedin dela Cruz said the southwest monsoon was also affecting most areas of Luzon and even the western portion of Visayas.
Disaster officials said one of the two fatalities was identified as a certain Ricky, 37, of Laoag City who was carried away by strong water current while trying to rescue a family trapped by flood waters in a low-lying village while the other victim was buried by earth debris in a village in Pasuquin north of Laoag.
Office of Civil Defense Director for Region-1 Melcito Castro said the worst hit by Ineng’s heavy downpour were the villages in the towns of Piddig (20); Sarrat (3); Pasuquin (6); Pagudpud (1); San Nicolas (4); Marcos (2); Burgos (1); Batac (3); and Dingras (1).
Despite Ineng’s onslaught, all major roads leading to the province were passable to all types of vehicles, except for still flooded areas that were not yet passable, Castro added.
While Ineng headed for Taiwan, Castro said the entire province was experiencing light to moderate and strong rains.
In La Union, heavy downpour also inundated San Fernando City, the capital city of Region 1, and adjoining municipalities measured as high as three meters, but immediately receded after rains halted.
The MIAA explained that while airplanes had their own lightning protection, continued movement of ground personnel are discouraged because of the possibility of current to travel on the pavement before it finally discharges on the ground especially if the aircraft has not finally reached the radius of protection.
Personal protection equipment or gears worn by ramp workers may not be enough to protect them from at least 24 megavolts of current carried by lightning.
Lightning happens during thunderstorms due to friction in air causing negatively charged particles in the atmosphere to be attracted by the positively or zero charged ground or pavement.
Meanwhile, those diverted from Terminals 2, 3 and 4 to Clark Airport in Pampanga on Saturday were flights of Philippine Airlines (PR-383 Canton-Manila), Qatar Airways (Qr 934 Doha-Manila), Cebu Pacific Air (from Tagbilaran, Davao, Ozamiz and Legazpi) and its sister airline CebGo (DG 6113 Manila-Naga), and Air Asia (Z2 764 from Cebu).
NAIA Terminal 4 also got flooded because of the bad weather.
One of the affected passengers narrated that water already reached the first step of the aircraft stairway. She said her flight from El Nido, Palawan was already delayed for 30 minutes.
MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal, in a GMA news report, said a flash flood occurred at the terminal as it is the lowest point of the ramp from Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 and appeared to be like a catch basin.
Monreal said the pumping stations at the terminal were not able to manage the volume of water, resulting to an overflow. He also clarified that the diversion of flights to Clark had nothing to do with the lightning red alert, but with the zero visibility experienced at the airport.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.