NASA shows more flood threats in Luzon

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Aug 20 2013 11:04 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2013 09:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Floods could worsen in central and southern Luzon amid heavy rains spawned by the southwest monsoon or habagat, according to latest data from a joint US-Japanese scientific project.

Latest satellite and hydrological data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint project between the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), shows the almost the entire central Luzon and an area in the Southern Tagalog Region covered in red, which means a high potential for floods.

TRMM also monitored the habagat rains in the past few days made intense by storm Maring.

Its 72-hour rainfall accumulation map shows many parts of eastern Luzon, including Metro Manila covered in white, which means total rainfall reaching 250 millimeters or more.

The TRMM also listed the rainfall data in the Philippines last 24 hours, with Iba town in Zambales province getting as much as 169 mm rain.

The areas in the country that got more than 35 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours, in ascending order, are: 

  • Calayan Island - 42 mm
  • Clark Field - 59 mm  
  • Itbayat, Batanes - 71 mm
  • Naula Point - 73 mm  
  • Tanay, Rizal - 82
  • Basco, Batanes - 83 mm
  • Calapan, Mindoro - 83 mm
  • Mamburao, Mindoro - 96 mm
  • Manila - 98 mm
  • NAIA - 98 mm
  • Sangley Point, Cavite - 98 mm
  • Olongapo City - 151 mm
  • Iba, Zambales - 169 mm

The TRMM data can be seen on Google's crisis response map for Tropical Storm Maring and the 2013 habagat.

The Google crisis map, which can be accessed on desktops and mobile browsers, provides information about the tropical storm's path, the rainfall warning, and the 24-hour forecast of accumulated rainfall across the country.

The map also shows cloud imagery, landslide and flood-prone areas, and rainfall and flooding forecast.

PAGASA, meantime, said in its 11 p.m. bulletin that although tropical storm Maring is moving farther away from the Philippines, it will "continue to enhance the southwest monsoon." 

PAGASA said this development "will bring moderate to heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms over Luzon particularly over the Western section." 

Based on its "yellow" rainfall warning advisory issued at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, PAGASA said "moderate to heavy rains is expected over Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Zambales, Bataan and occidential Mindoro for the next three hours." 

PAGASA said there will be "flooding in low-lying areas."

Record-high rainfall in Cavite

The Manila Observatory on Tuesday said total rainfall from the midnight of August 18 up to 5pm on August 20 in Cavite has reached a record high of almost 800mm, as well as around 500mm in Las Pinas, Makati, Manila, Paranaque, Pasay.

-- Image courtesy of the Manila Observatory


Data from the observatory, an independent weather research institute based at the Ateneo de Manila University, showed that in less than 24 hours -- from 9 pm Sunday to 6 pm Monday -- accumulated rainfall reached more than 250 mm in Las Piñas.

Project NOAH's Dr. Mahar Lagmay on early Monday morning also shared Doppler radar maps created by the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences' Irene Crisologo that showed the extent of rainfall in Metro Manila and nearby areas Sunday and Monday.

One map shows as much as 600 millimeters of rain falling on Manila Bay on August 18.

It also shows areas in Cavite, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales and Manila Bay covered in pink (420 mm to 580 mm rainfall), as well as white (600 mm or almost two feet of rain).

The Department of Science and Technology's Project NOAH also uploaded a YouTube animation showing the habagat rains hammering Metro Manila, as well as southern and central Luzon.

200,000 flee Metro Manila floods

Floods have have forced more than 200,000 people in Metro Manila to flee their homes on Tuesday, as the relentless monsoon rains, which have killed eight people, submerged more than half of Manila.

Streets turned into rivers with water rising above two meters (seven feet) in some parts of the megacity of 12 million people, while vast areas of neighboring farming regions on the main island of Luzon were also inundated.

"I was crying when I saw my house being filled with water," said Edita Selda, 68, a sidewalk vendor who was forced to evacuate from her home in a shantytown along a major river in Manila that burst its banks.

"I chained the door shut so our belongings wouldn't be washed away. But... the water is moving so fast."

More than 200,000 people have sought shelter in evacuation centres, the head of the Philippine Red Cross, Gwendolyn Peng, told ABS-CBN television.

While no one was reported killed in Manila, five more people were confirmed to have drowned in flooded farming provinces to the north, according to the government's disaster management council.

Among them were a one-year-old baby and a 64-year-old man, both of whom drowned in the rural province of Pampanga about an hour's drive north of Manila.

This brought the confirmed death toll from two days of flooding across Luzon to eight.

The state weather agency said the rain would continue into Wednesday, raising the prospect of another day of paralysis in Manila. - with a report from Agence France-Presse