Floods hit Cebu, Manila

Manila, Philippines --- Some areas in Cebu City were submerged by flash floods that reached up to waist level triggered by heavy rains that started pouring at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, prompting some residents to evacuate, the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) said yesterday.

Heavy rains also triggered flash floods in Metro Manila yesterday which the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) attributed to the strong southwest monsoon.

Several thoroughfares in Manila and Quezon City were rendered impassable to light vehicles due to the flash floods triggered by heavy rains yesterday afternoon, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.

In Manila, R. Papa Avenue was declared impassable to light vehicles. "A creek that overflowed nearby R. Papa contributed to the flooding," said Bobot Balbaboco, duty team leader, MMDA flood control information center.

Also, streets adjacent to Espana Boulevard -- Lacson Street to Maceda, Lacson to Antipolo, and Lerma -- were declared impassable to light vehicles as floodwaters rose up to 11 to 24 inches at 3:27 p.m.

In Quezon City, NS Amoranto corner Del Monte was also not passable to light vehicles at 3:37 pm.

The MMDA also monitored some flooded streets in Caloocan City, Manila and Quezon City but were still passable to vehicles. Balbaboco said thoroughfares with eight up to 10 inches of floodwaters are still safe for motorists.

"When floodwater reaches 13-19 inches, thoroughfares become impassable to light vehicles. When it reaches 26 inches up, thoroughfares are closed to all types of vehicles," he added.

Several schools in the city of Manila yesterday announced suspension of classes after heavy rains caused knee-deep flood in several parts of the city.

The University of the Philippines in Manila (UPM) announced the suspension of classes and offices at 3:30 p.m. in its Twitter account "due to bad weather." The order came from the office of Chancellor Manuel Agulto.

Similarly, San Beda College also announced suspension of classes 4 p.m. onwards. Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila (PLM) also made the same announcement effective at 4 p.m. yesterday.

University of Santo Tomas suspended all classes from 3 p.m. onwards.

As of 3:20 p.m., the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) tweeted that floodwater in Ramon Magsaysay-Espana area was already knee-deep.

In Cebu City, the CDRRMC said flash floods measuring 1.2 to 1.5 meters in height submerged a residential area in Barangay Tisa past 12 midnight. Flooding was at its highest level in Mabolo as the Mahiga creek overflowed, according to Alvin Santillana, CDRRMC executive director. Floods also hit areas in Barangays Tagunol, Inayawan, Basak, and some parts of Tisa.

Knee-deep floods were also observed in Barangay Tejero, Colon Street, Sanciangko Street, and areas in Barangay Banawa, the CDRRMC said.

The Cebu City government was still monitoring the mountain barangays of the city to determine if there were landslides and flashfloods that took place following the heavy downpour Wednesday night.

The CDRRMC has not released data on the number of families and individuals who were affected by the flood.

The CDRRMC earlier said it is ready for the onset of the rainy season this month as it recently installed a state-of-the-art weather monitoring station, Santillana said.

"We have made trainings to our people; we can also monitor the volume of the rain, wind gustiness within Cebu City with the help of our rain gauge. We also have our hazard maps. With the use of our weather station, we can now predict the amount of rainfall that will cause flooding in areas of the city," he said.

Flash floods and landslides threaten Luzon and Visayas due to the strong southwest monsoon (habagat), the PAGASA announced yesterday.

Weather Forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said due to southwest monsoon, the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) region, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Western Visayas and the provinces of Zambales and Bataan will experience cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Aurelio said the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and the rest of Luzon including Metro Manila and the rest of Visayas will be cloudy with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms while the rest of Mindanao will have partly cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Aurelio added that the cloud formation near the western part of Northern Luzon has intensified into a low-pressure area (LPA).

"Yung LPA nasa west Philippine sea or nasa west Ilocos region pero labas ng PAR aabot lang ito sa boundary ng PAR line," he explained.

"At hindi na rin natin ito inaasahan na papasok ng bansadahil ang galaw nito ay pataas," he added.

Although it has a "high chance" to become a cyclone since in the sea, Aurelio said that will evolve into a tropical depression would be named "Emong" - the fifth tropical cyclone to enter the country this year.

This month, PAGASA expects two or three storms to strike the country.

In separate interview, weather Forecaster Ricky Fabregas said the agency's numerical models continued to show an LPA formation over the eastern section of Mindanao before weekend.

"Nakikita pa rin namin sa mga models na may mabubuongisang LPA sa may east of Mindanao on Friday or bago mag-weekend," he noted.

"Pero hindi pa natin masasabi sa ngayon kung magigingisang bagyo ito o hindi... Kaya patuloy namin itong mino-monitor," he added. (With reports from Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren, Jenny F. Manongdo and PNA)