NDRRMC: Incoming Typhoon Pablo may bring Sendong-like rains, winds

The powerful typhoon approaching the Philippines is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds similar to what the deadly tropical storm “Sendong” brought to parts of the Visayas and Mindanao at almost the same time last year, the chief of the country’s disaster preparedness body said Sunday. Undersecretary Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said typhoon “Bopha”—which will be locally named “Pablo” when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility—will bring with it a combination of two “destructive forces”: strong winds and heavy rainfall. “Kung ikaw ay sumakay sa motor at wala kang helmet at bisor, at kung 120 kph ang takbo mo, babanat na ang mukha mo at mapapaluha ka. Mas malakas pa po ito. Malakas po ito. Dalawa ang destructive forces nito. Itong hangin, kasama na ang tubig,” Ramos said in an interview on “GMA News TV Live." He added that the incoming weather disturbance is expected to pour 20 to 30 millimeters of rainfall per hour—the same amount of rainfall “Sendong” dumped over Mindanao in December last year, causing widespread flooding. “Ito [Typhoon Pablo] ay pinaghahandaan na natin. Kagaya ng Sendong ito. Marami rin ang dala niyang ulan,” he said. The PAGASA, in its 5 p.m. weather bulletin, meanwhile said that the approaching typhoon maintained maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour, and gustiness of up to 220 kilometers per hour. The incoming weather disturbance is moving west northwest at 22 kph and is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility at 8 p.m. Sunday, the state weather bureau added. In December last year, tropical storm “Sendong” wreaked havoc in southern Philippines, particularly in northern Mindanao. The storm—one of the deadliest cyclones to enter the country in the past 12 years—left over 1,200 people dead and about 4,600 others injured. Preparations Ramos said residents of areas expected to be hit by the typhoon, particularly those from the CARAGA region, are already preparing for the weather disturbance. “Ready na at resilient ang ating mga kakabayan, lalo na sa Surigao del Sur at Surigao del Norte. Ito rin ay pinaghahandaan na natin sa northern Mindanao,” he said in the television interview. He added that local disaster management councils from these areas have already met last Friday to prepare for the approaching typhoon. The NDRRMC chief likewise said that gymnasiums, school, churches and even cockpit arenas are ready to be used as evacuation centers in case residents need to flee their homes. Ramos also warned local fishermen and miners against possible landslides and flashfloods as the typhoon moves closer to the Philippine area of responsibility. He added that Metro Manila and nearby provinces in southern Luzon may also feel the effects of the typhoon this week. “Dahil malaki nga ito, baka mahagip ang Batangas, Laguna, at Metro Manila. Sana hindi at hihina ito. Basta bumangga sa kalupaan at sa bundok, sana humina para hindi makaperwisyo sa Kamaynilaan,” he said. — BM, GMA News