Editorial: The storm that stunned-A A +A
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
ALL satellite images were pointing to the fact that typhoon Gener will just graze through Luzon and will most likely just hit the northernmost part of the island. There will also be rain, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said, and gustiness.
The night before Gener hit land, strong winds and rain battered the national capital again in intensity estimated to be Signal No. 2; rattling glass windows of high-rises and screaming though the vents, and toppling transmission towers along the way plunging the metro in darkness for three hours. Yet, there was no storm signal raised simply because, the satellite images and Doppler radar only said the wind will be enhanced by the southwest monsoon.
According to Pagasa forecaster Jori Loiz, what happened in Metro Manila was a monsoon surge that merged with a shallow Low Pressure Area (LPA), a most unsual occurrence. LPAs usually just stay on the edges of a monsoon.
As expected, jeers filled the social networks, jeers for Pagasa and their slow-wittedness. The real slow of wit, however, has been missing the long ago and oft-repeated warning that climate change is bringing weather disturbances never before experienced and can hardly be prepared for, including local government officials who howl the loudest.
The United States, with their National Weather Station, equipped with just about every weather prediction system, was not even up to par with the hurricane season of 2011 that brought twisters and howlers in parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, leaving a swathe of destruction that teared through thousands of lives.
Apparently, the warnings that there will be worse weather disturbances to come have been falling on deaf ears and the mainstream Filipino would rather place the blame on just about everyone instead of preparing for that unpredictable worse that is often warned about.
The marching order for each and everyone is climate change adaptation. We’ve seen the worse in Ondoy, Pepeng, and Sendong; we can only expect the worst. In expecting the worst, we will have better chances of survival if we not only expect but also prepare.
Calling off classes way before the deluge came and evacuating residents along Marikina River are already adaptation measures that have to be made even more efficient in all other areas since storms these days do not even follow the normal path and patterns, just like when Sendong slammed Central Mindanao and flooded Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities last year, and that shallow LPA that was lurking beneath clouds and then converging with the southwest monsoon to become a real, but, unexpected howler because of Gener.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 01, 2012.