IT’S that time of year again, and we can pretend to be surprised for all we want. This week, long heavy rains pounded the metro, causing inundation in the expected areas—Tipolo, Mandaue City and in Mambaling, Cebu City.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa)-Mactan station reported, from 8 a.m. of Tuesday, Sept. 15, to 8 a.m. of Wednesday, Sept. 16, 34 millimeters of rain. Netherlin Delfin, Pagasa weather specialist, said that is 170,000 barrels of rainfall dumped in every square kilometer.
Every millimeter of rain is equivalent to 5,000 barrels of rain per square kilometer. Cebu has an average of 200 mm of expected rainfall in September.
Delfin said that we’re still in the middle of September and we have already reached 40 percent of the expected rainfall per month.
This is no consolation, though, since the two-day downpour had already exposed the fact that the usual flood-prone areas are in the same state of danger that they are in in a season like this.
Year in and year out it seemed that government could not grapple the urgency of climate change’s new normal—that rainfall will always come in overwhelming volumes.
We have heard of river cleanups, community education, and whatnots, brilliant plans weaving their way through the bureaucracy down to their implementation stage, but almost always waning in zeal when bad weather subsides.
The warming conditions create massive evaporation and the sky sags with colossal volumes of precipitation. What the air holds it will have to unpack back to earth with a vengeance. It is the new normal—there will always be heavy, incessant rain, consequently causing flooding and landslides hereabouts. Pray nothing catastrophic happens and snatch lives.
So unless we internalize that fact, we will always find ourselves in the vicious and costly cycle of addressing flooding in the metro in palliative ways.
While we’re addressing the health crisis, we can also hold into account government for its promises to solve flooding in our metro.