Residents cross a swelling dam, due to rising waters brought about by Typhoon Koppu, in Las Pinas. Reuters
"Hindi pa tapos si Lando sa atin."
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council issued this stern warning to Filipinos who may be lulled into complacency by the decrease in wind and rain after Typhoon Lando made landfall on Sunday, October 18.
Disaster officials cautioned those who sought shelter in evacuation centers not to return to their homes just yet. The rains may have dissipated but the large amounts of rainwater that accumulated in the mountains will not begin to come down to the lowlands and will only empty out at least by tomorrow afternoon. This is sure to cause more flooding in previously inundated areas.
READ:'Lando' could stay till Sunday
"Huwag po muna kayo bumalik sa mga tirahan niyo hangga't walang abiso," said Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
"Konti na lang ang baha pero ngayon pwede pang magbaha pagbaba ng tubig galing sa kabundukan."
In a single day (October 18), four of PAGASA's weather stations - Iba, Dagupan, Clark Field and Baguio - logged rainfall that amounted to half of their monthly average.
The Iba station observed 154.88 mm of rainfall, which is 51.86% of rainfall they receive in a month.
The Dagupan City station observed 114.5 mm of rainfall or 48.89% of rainfall they receive in a month.
The Baguio station also observed 161.3 mm of rainfall, or 35.5% of rainfall they receive in a month.
This translated to how much rain is expected to descend from the mountains in the coming hours. Nationwide, the Department of Science and Technology sees that 389 municipalities in 10 regions received or will receive rainfall greater than or equal to 100 mm of rain, which will trigger landslides and floods.
Project NOAH exec explains flooding in Nueva Ecija
At the noontime briefing of the NDRRMC, Undersecretary Alexander Pama said 37,455 families or 182,946 individuals were affected by Typhoon Lando and needed to be evacuated in Regions 1,2,3,4-a, 5 and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Despite other reports citing more casualties, the NDRRMC reported two deaths, which they say have been the only fatalities that have been subjected to their standard or validation, verification and confirmation. More names are in the process of being validated.
DILG Secretary Mel Sarmiento also refuted a media report that cited 70 deaths in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, saying they have spoken to the mayor of Gabaldon and that there are zero casualties so far.
Meanwhile, the DOST warned the municipalities within the Cagayan, Agno and Pampanga River basin to watch out for intense amounts of rainfall as the track of Typhoon Lando shifted toward them.
"Bagama't humina, magdudulot pa rin ito ng ulan at tatahak pa ito sa river basins," said Liboro.
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Three hundred and sixty-seven millimeters of rain within a 24-hour period is predicted to fall in the Cagayan River basin, where 18 municipalities from the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela are located.
Cagayan: Alcala, Amulung, Aparri, Camalaniugan, Enrile, Gattaran, Iguig, Lal-Lo, Lasam, Solana, Tutuegarao City
Isabela: Cabagan, Delfin Albano, Ilagan, San Pablo, SAnta maria, Santo Tomas, Tumauini
352.9 millimeters of rain is predicted to fall within a 24-hour period in the Agno River basin where 22 provinces from the provinces of Benguet, Pangasinan and Tarlac are located.
Benguet: Bokod, Buguias, Itogon, Kabayan
Pangasinan: Aguilar, Alcala, Asingan, Bautista, Bayambang, Bugalion, Lingayen, Mangatarem, Rosales, San Carlos City, San Manuel, San Nicolas, Santa maria, Santo tomas, Tayug, Urbiztondo, Villasis
Tarlac: San Manuel
373.6 mm of rainfall within a 24-hour period is predicted to fall in the Pampanga River basin where 11 municipalities from the provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan are located.
The said rains are predicted to fall within the next 24 to 36 hours. For perspective, Tropical Storm Ondoy produced 455 millimeters of rain in 24 hours.
PAGASA and DOST were also asked why other international forecasting centers and international news agencies labeled Typhoon Lando a "supertyphoon" when Philippine forecasters stuck to Lando being a mere typhoon. They said Philippine technology is capable of giving more accurate readings within its own shores owing to the established radars, surface sensors and satellite feeds it is able to cull data from.
Officials asked Filipinos to trust its own technology, which has improved massively in the last five years.
"Makinig tayo kung saan tayo nandoon," said Dr. Esperanza Cayanan, weather center chief of PAGASA.
Dr. Vicente Malano added: "Ang gobyerno natin, nag-invest ng malaking pondo to enhance our capabilities. Our radars are now capable of monitoring 400 kms from the station. Hindi yan kaya ng ibang meteorological center."
Some major international weather forecasting centers like the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) make reading every minute, as opposed to PAGASA who does readings every 10 minutes. Naturally, more intense activity is captured within a one-minute period as opposed to a 10-minute interval that allows for lulls between gusts of wind.
"Kung ayaw niyong maniwala sa PAGASA, manilwala kayo sa radars," said Malano.
"Nakalamang na po ang ating ahensya. Nandito lahat ng info."
IN PHOTOS: Typhoon Lando makes landfall
The NDRRMC logs 68 incidents of flooding in Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, and Pampanga.
Thirty-one roads and bridges are now impassable including Kennon Road and several roads in Quirino, Nueva Ecija and Cagayan. A total of 6,210 people are stranded in seaports.
Water has been released by the Ambuklao, Binga and Magat Dams.
Rainfall has greatly improved the water levels of dams, which will become useful to the country once the El Nino phenomenon hits in the fourth quarter of the year. The Angat Dam now has a level of 201.5 meters, close to its full capacity of 210 meters.
The Pantabangan Dam is now at 199 meters, while 216 meters of water is needed to fill it to capacity.