Rainy day and a coming storm-A A +A
Monday, November 4, 2013
RAIN fell most of yesterday, but the rainy episode was what Cebuanos call as, “inday-inday,” a not-so-politically correct term for feminists, I admit. What we had yesterday was light to moderate rain that kept falling throughout the day. It was spawned by tropical depression Wilma, which weakened back into a low pressure area in the afternoon.
Rains like that do not cause the feared flash floods. But if such rain continues for days, there’s danger in landslide-prone areas. The water could seep deep into the soil and weaken its base. So it would be prudent to warn people living in hilly land to be careful and watchful.
But while tropical depression Wilma has weakened according to the weather bureau Pagasa’s monitoring, the United States’ Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has spotted another weather disturbance that could hit the Philippines, notably Eastern Visayas, in the next few days. The JTWC described it as a tropical storm.
The storm’s international name is Haiyan. When it enters the Philippines’ area of responsibility (I just hope it doesn’t), Pagasa will call it Yolanda, based on its prepared list of weather disturbance names.
The storm packs maximum sustained wind speed of 222 kilometers per hour, according to the Global disaster Alert and Coordination System (Gdacs). That’s a fairly strong typhoon. More than that, it could spawn not the “Wilma” type rainfall but torrential rains—-and flashfloods.
That, I would say, is the forecast. But “forecast” is not definite, so there is still the possibility that Haiyan would change direction. Let us pray it would veer away from the quake-hit areas like Bohol and Cebu. Because if it doesn’t, the storm would be a second whammy.
How prepared are we to deal with a storm or torrential rain? That is one of the questions I asked Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama in a recent city government-initiated forum with media people. The mayor admitted that while there are efforts to fast-track the clearing of waterways, we would still be unprepared when the next weather disturbance comes.
The mayor has created a body called Redz (Reduction of Danger Zones) headed by former Cebu City councilor Jose Daluz III. While it is doing its job and fast, the fact remains that it was created only a few months after Rama was reelected in May this year. It was racing against time, sort of, from the get-go.
The implementation of the mayor’s plans is also hampered by the lack of cooperation by the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-dominated city council. He could not, for example, go full speed with the project to improve the city’s drainage system with the BOPK councilors refusing to allow him to get funds by selling South Road Properties (SRP) lots.
Rama had said that all we can do for now is to pray that storms that hit the country would spare us from their wrath. So we will have to pray that Tropical storm Haiyan, if ever it becomes Yolanda, would not include Cebu in its path and won’t spawn unusually heavy rain.
And let us pray that Haiyan/Yolanda won’t affect Bohol, too, considering the devastation that it suffered from the Oct. 15 magnitude-7.2 earthquake. Many residents of the province have still to rebuild their houses damaged by the quake. That means they are still living in makeshift structures that definitely aren’t storm-proof.
Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils may have to start talking now about what to do in case Haiyan/Yolanda or any other weather disturbance hit us at this early stage of the ballgame. They don’t have to be jumpy; they can map out plans without triggering unfounded worries among the populace.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 05, 2013.