A STATE meteorologist clarified that the heavy rainfall that inundated key cities in Metro Cebu in the past few days and caused problems among the locals was caused by severe localized thunderstorms and not by a tropical depression.
This was according to Engineer Alfredo "Al" Quiblat, the head of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Visayas, on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
Quiblat stated that the rainfall in the past days fell into the "intense to torrential" category.
During the heavy rainstorm last Monday, September 11, he emphasized the increased risk of significant downpours and sudden floods, which worried drivers and commuters because it happened during rush hour.
Quiblat reported that between 3:48 and 4:40 p.m. last Monday, they recorded a remarkable 29.6 millimeters of rain in Mactan.
He emphasized that their radar showed that the amount of rain that caused severe flooding in some areas of Mandaue City and Cebu City had exceeded 30 millimeters (mm).
According to Quiblat, the categories for rainfall intensity that Pagasa records are as follows: light: less than 2.55 mm per hour; light to moderate: 2.5 to 4.5 mm per hour; moderate: 4.5 to 5.5 mm per hour; heavy: 7.5 to 15 mm per hour; intense: 15 to 30 mm per hour; and torrential: more than 30 mm per hour.
The amount of rain that fell on Monday was equivalent to 150,000 barrels or drums of water per square kilometer.
Quiblat noted that neither the southwest monsoon nor the habagat were to blame for the heavy downpour.
"Last Monday, the weather was primarily due to localized thunderstorms, with the habagat having minimal impact. The rain was indeed caused by thunderstorms," he stated.
Quiblat urged the public to remain vigilant by regularly checking Pagasa's thunderstorm advisories and staying updated with the information they provide throughout the day.
He clarified that when issuing weather advisories, they nowcast rather than forecast thunderstorm alerts, giving one to two hours of lead time, depending on the capabilities of their radar.
In a violent thunderstorm, he warned about the quickly developing thunderstorms that might provide significant but brief rainfall that could cause flooding and landslides.
Meanwhile, the business community urged the city governments of Cebu and Mandaue and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH 7) to work together to combat flooding.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Charles Kenneth Co told SunStar Cebu in a text message on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, that the recent flooding incidents had hurt and inconvenienced the general public.
"Despite the ongoing efforts to improve our waterways, the flooding problem persists, even in areas that have never flooded before," Co said.(KJF, EHP)