AN AVERAGE of 19 storms hit the country every year, so it is not surprising that two of them have entered the Philippine area of responsibility in early 2014. These are not as strong as super typhoon Yolanda, but they wrought or could bring damage in other ways.
Agaton was initially a mere low pressure area when it roamed around Mindanao, but it ushered in continuous rain and caused flooding that jacked up the death toll and damage to properties. After days, Agaton strengthened into a storm then finally left the country.
Basyang made land fall in Surigao last night as a storm packing sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour and was expected, as of press time, to hit Cebu early dawn. It is weaker than Yolanda, but that does not mean it can’t bring havoc, especially where its eye wall passes.
What we are illustrating here is that the potential devastation that every storm that comes our way is now being measured against the damage wrought by Yolanda. In terms of preparation, this can be good or this can be bad.
The bad part is when weather disturbances that are weaker than Yolanda are not treated as seriously, sparking complacency in preparation.
Indeed Agaton, having entered the country as a low pressure area, had made some people complacent. They failed to reckon with the continuous rain and flooding that it brought.
The good part is that with the devastation wrought by Yolanda, many people have also become wary of every weather disturbance that comes, prompting them to prepare for the worst even if the storm is not that strong.
Indeed, the Yolanda experience has pushed many local government officials to double their efforts to prepare for the entry of Basyang. Basyang is not as strong as Yolanda, but it seems like officials were preparing for a stronger storm.
Yolanda may have raised our threshold of pain of some people but it seems like it has also prompted many more to be aware of the need to prepare well for every storm that comes after it.