Waiting for the waves-A A +A
Sunday, September 2, 2012
I'M KEEPING the dog nearby, he’s the first I will grab should I hear the waves. Not that I could ever outrun a tsunami. But at least I’m in good company. My laptop is on my lap, where it's designed to be, so that will be with me as well. My dog, my laptop, myself, plus my camera bag and my guitar might not fit in the door… so I can only carry the dog and the laptop at the most. That’s enough.
It’s 11 p.m. Friday, two hours past the earthquake that was supposed to have generated tsunami and a tsunami watch is raised for Legaspi, Davao, and Palanan in Isabela.
The 1425 (UTC) Tsunami Bulletin No. 3 from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that indeed tsunami waves have been generated by the 1248 (UTC) 7.6 magnitude quake. That’s 8:48 p.m. quake and 10:25 p.m. bulletin as UTC is eight hours behind Philippine time.
“For affected areas – when no major waves are observed for two hours after the estimated time of arrival or damaging waves have not occurred for at least two hours then local authorities can assume the threat is passed,” the bulletin says.
Estimated time of arrival in Davao is 1340 (UTC) or 9:40 p.m. It’s now 11:17 p.m., my laptop says.
I’m inside my bedroom, the area of the house nearest the beach. The beach is just around 300 meters away, or less… it’s across the road and a big beachside property with a gasoline station that’s under construction, so it could be less. I look around the room. There’s my sleeping dog by my feet. My cellphone that is my portable wifi is on the floor, charging. I’m in bed with my laptop. My camera bag is farther off near the door, and then the guitar.
I’m keeping the dog nearby, he’s the first I will grab should I hear the waves. Not that I could ever outrun a tsunami. But at least I’m in good company. My laptop is on my lap, where it’s designed to be, so that will be with me as well. My dog, my laptop, myself, plus my camera bag and my guitar might not fit in the door… so I can only carry the dog and the laptop at the most. That’s enough. I’ve seen so many deaths I know it will creep up on anyone whose time is up and yank away those who still aren’t scheduled to go. I can cite one recent incident to back that up, but that may sound offensive to some. So I’d rather not.
It’s now 11:24 p.m., the last bulletin has just been uploaded. It’s issued at 1454 (UTC) or 10:54 p.m. in our time, saying the tsunami warning has been cancelled even as measurements have been taken. There was a 0.1-foot increase in water level.
Work, well past midnight, continues. There’s a lot to be done on the morrow. I am just grateful that for tonight, there’s one less thing to worry about. Let the morrow take care of itself.
I can almost hear some friends and kin grinding their teeth as they read this, wondering at how stupid an editor can be to live right beside the beach and not even go up Shrine Hills to sip coffee while the warning is up. Errrrr, yeah, maybe I am; stupid that is. But weren’t the lot of you preaching about faith? I never did. I just have and practice it. Another thing… I don’t think they allow dogs in that coffee shop up Shrine Hills, so I can’t sip coffee while leaving my dog in danger, right?
That said, I return to work, grateful for another day with my dog.
Which reminds me, while I will be working till the wee hours, I have to wake up early and deliver my dog to my mom. My day’s schedule doesn’t allow dogs to tag along. Oh, life.
Alarm clock set. Another long day to count the casualties and check the damages in neighboring areas. Was it just as strong in Davao Oriental? I wonder. Those guys in those gold mine sites may not be able to survive a quake over and above rain-sloshed earth.
Lord have mercy.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 02, 2012.