MANILA - The amount of rain during Typhoon Odette's (international name: Rai) onslaught in the country last week surpassed the level brought by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013, state weather bureau PAGASA said.
PAGASA forecaster Raymond Ordinario said at the agency's 143rd Climate Forum on Wednesday that its synoptic station in Virac, Catanduanes recorded 272.1 millimeters of accumulated rainfall between December 14 and 18, 2021, during which Odette was within the Philippine area of responsibility.
It is higher than the 223.8 mm of rainfall recorded in Calapan, Mindoro when Yolanda hit the country.
Ordinario said the high amount of rain that fell over Virac was due to the convergence of Odette with the Northeast Monsoon when it reached the West Philippine Sea before leaving the PAR noon of Saturday.
As for areas in Odette's direct path, Surigao City recorded 234 mm of rainfall, while the town of Dauis, Bohol saw 232.7 mm of rain. Malaybalay, Bukidnon recorded 218.4 mm, while Butuan City experienced 207.6 mm of rainfall.
Odette was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 195 kph, on top of gustiness of up to 270 kph, at its peak. Yolanda, on the other hand, had 235 kilometers per hour maximum winds and gusts of up to 275 kph at its peak.
"Comparing it with Yolanda, so makikita natin na mas konti yung ulan na dala ni Yolanda. Pero yung Yolanda kasi is meron talagang bugso na malalakas na hangin and at the same time yung kanyang track ay medyo mas mataas compared dito kay Odette kaya yung mga storm surges natin ay matataas, basically," Ordinario said.
"Pero dito kay Odette, nakikita natin ay talagang nakikita natin na yung malakas na hangin ang nagbigay ng malaking damage over areas of the Visayas and Mindanao. "
(Comparing Odette with Yolanda, we can see that Yolanda brought less rain. But Yolanda had stronger winds and its track was much higher compared to Odette, so it triggered bigger storm surges. With Odette, we saw that strong winds also caused severe damage over areas of Visayas and Mindanao.)
Ordinario said the data on Odette's impact is still partial, as communication had yet to be restored with other PAGASA field offices.
So far, Odette has left at least 258 people dead along with 47 missing, according to the National Risk Reduction and Management Council or NDRRMC. It affected 585,029 families or 2,196,432 people overall.
The typhoon also caused P2,537,507,000 worth of damage to infrastructure, and P1,152,834,160 worth of damage to agriculture.
According to PAGASA forecaster Nikos Peñaranda, Odette's rapid intensification into the country's strongest storm this year surpassed all expectations.
He said earlier this week that a lack of real-time data and case studies of similar storms in the region made it difficult for forecasters to predict just how much stronger the storm would have gotten.
"Our models weren't able to predict the way the storm intensified, and it exceeded all our predictions," he said.
Though it is unclear whether global warning played a part in the intensification of storms like Odette, the United Nations' climate change agency has found it is "likely that the frequency of rapid intensification events have increased over the past four decades" as temperatures rise.
- With a report from Reuters