Storm surge hits Manila Bay


Posted at Sep 27 2011 07:42 PM | Updated as of Sep 28 2011 04:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The large waves that hammered the coastline of Manila Bay on Tuesday and caused flash floods in areas near it were caused by a storm surge, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.

The surge of waves began early in the morning, with seawater spilling on streets by 8 a.m., flooding Raja Soliman Park and Roxas Boulevard.

The huge waves caused by the storm surge battered the bay's seawall, causing portions of the wall to collapse.

Weather bureau PAGASA said this is the first time this has happened.

ABS-CBN News was able to penetrate Roxas Boulevard at the height of the typhoon's wrath in the area and witnessed how massive waves crashed through the boulevard, with floodwaters reaching above waist level.

The Manila Yacht Club was not spared as huge waves battered anchored vessels here.

Mabini, Ermita, Kalaw, Taft Avenue, and Ayala Boulevard. areas were submerged in above-the-knee floodwaters.

Traffic was terrible with most commuters abandoning passenger vehicles and braving floodwaters.

Most motorists were stranded in floodwaters for hours.

The area was later closed to traffic, causing gridlocks on roads around Manila.

US embassy flooded

Floods also struck the US embassy. It will remain closed until Wednesday, according to embassy information officer Tina Malone.

"The embassy was not evacuated. The decision was made at 8am to close embassy operations and re-schedule all consular appointments.  

Members of the public were given assistance to depart the flooded compound," she said.

"The extent of flooding is not yet known, but it affected mostly the grounds, not the buildings," she added.

"Personnel left in orderly manner, although a few visa applicants, some of whom were elderly, had to be assisted by members of our staff because of flooding in parts of the Embassy compound and on Roxas Boulevard," Malone said.

Floodwaters also reached the Sofitel Philippine Plaza and vehicles could be seen floating on its parking lot.

The hotel's guests had to be evacuated to other hotels.

Mall of Asia's baywalk also suffered storm damage and its line of restaurants were affected by floods.

Mall security shut down the entire area to prevent looting.

Tondo evacuation

Meanwhile, residents of Isla Puting Bato and Parola in Tondo were brought to evacuation centers by the Red Cross, and civilian rescue units did the same for residents in Del Pan and Binondo.

The waters receded Tuesday night, but Roxas Boulevard remained impassable for light vehicles, as of 7 p.m.

The flooring of the baywalk, as well as the seawall and break water, were significantly damaged.

Trash from the bay was also scattered by by the angry waves brought by Typhoon Pedring.

The Manila City engineers office is now busy surveying the damage, removing fallen trees, and clearing downed posts and other debris. - with reports from Ina Reformina and Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News; ANC