MANILA, Philippines – The amount of rainfall that the “habagat” (southwest monsoon) dumped over Metro Manila and nearby Luzon provinces for 3 days surpassed the projected rainfall for the whole month of August, an official said.
Director Raymund Liboro, project leader of Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Project Noah, said accumulated rainfall from August 6 to 8 reached 1,007 millimeters.
Projected accumulated rainfall for the whole month of August was only 540 millimeters.
“The past 3 days set the record for daily rainfall accumulated,” Liboro told ANC’s “Dateline Philippines” on Saturday.
Liboro described the rains as a “3-day tortuous event” not only for the residents ravaged by floods, but also to the rescuers and PAGASA’s monitoring team.
A total of 21 areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed in a state of calamity due to the floods.
More than 60 people died and more than 2 million people were affected.
Liboro said he believes Project Noah, which was launched early July, was able to live up to their expectations in the critical flooding event and were successfully converted into timely warnings.
However, he admitted that Project Noah leaves much room for improvement, particularly in the system’s “robustness.”
“There were times when the sensors, just like any other machine, minsan may mga gaps din ‘yan. So we have to be very, very alert also. But we have developed a system wherein if a sensor fails in performance, makikita namin kaagad,” he said.
Marikina as prototype
He also said the high flood-risk area of Marikina, where most of the sensors are already in place, served as Project Noah’s prototype.
Marikina was severely flooded twice in a span of 4 days due to the swelling of the Marikina River.
Residents of Marikina were again evacuated Friday night after water level surpassed 17 meters.
Alert levels were lifted Saturday noon.
Liboro said the DOST plans to improve the monitoring system and to duplicate the effort to the other systems by the end of the year.
He also said the project will implement 3-D mapping in various areas beginning September.
“’Yung data na nagawa namin for Marikina, magagawa na natin sa iba’t-ibang lugar. Cagayan and Iligan mayroon na ding detailed mapping,” he said.
He added that plans are also in place to make the information accessible via mobile applications.
“We will continue improving it, we will be adding more graphic features,” he said.