NASA predicted 'Ondoy-like' rains for 'Sendong'

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Dec 17 2011 09:28 PM | Updated as of Dec 18 2011 05:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Tropical storm Sendong (international name Washi) was expected to bring heavy rains with almost similar amount and intensity as carried by tropical storm Ondoy 2 years ago, according to a prediction made 2 days ago by a joint US-Japanese scientific project.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), a joint project between the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), said tropical storm Washi had strengthened when the TRMM satellite passed over December 15.

TRRM analysis of data gathered by the satellite's instruments showed that Sendong was already carrying "very heavy rainfall of over 50mm/hr (~2 inches).” In comparison, Ondoy dumped 56.83 mm/hr of rainfall on Metro Manila in September 2009.

Around the same day, Philippine state weather bureau PAGASA and the disaster management agency NDRRMC predicted only a 10-25 mm per hour rainfall amount for Sendong.

The highest storm warning signal raised over areas affected by Sendong was only signal number 2.

The storm devastated southern Philippines Friday night and Saturday morning, causing flash floods that killed at least 180 people and left almost 400 others missing.

Sendong is expected to make landfall again early Sunday morning in Palawan.

Quoting PAGASA officer-in-charge Graciano Yumul, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III said on Twitter Saturday that Cagayan de Oro City received more rainfall in a single day than what the area gets for a month.

"For the month of December, normal rainfall for CDO is 113.2mm. The December 16, 2011 volume at 180.9mm in one day in Lumbia is greater than a whole month's rain," he said.

Asked regarding the use of rainfall volume in storm warning signals, Quezon said the government is reviewing the system.

"There's an ongoing review of that as heavy rains increasingly posing separate peril from old signal system based on winds," he said.

President Benigno Aquino also wants to review the country's disaster management plan following the deaths and devastation caused by Sendong.

According to the NDRRMC, it properly relayed advisories to local government units, media, the military, police, and emergency response agencies in Mindanao regarding the threat posed by the storm.

Around 20,000 soldiers have now been mobilized for rescue and relief operations across the north coast of Mindanao, particularly Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.