La Nina 2011: Wet Summer in the Philippines
A Storm during Summer season
Unpredictable weather marks the start of La Nina or the abnormal amount of rainfall during summer in the Philippines as the month of May begins this year.
Most of the residents in our barrio were surprised as the southwest moonsoon or habagat (in Filipino term) added intensity to the often ignored low-pressure area as it magnified as a tropical cyclone and stayed in the Bicol region for almost three days.
Bizarre climate disturbance was found out to have the following negative effects:
- non-stop raining for about 48 hours
- a tropical cyclone with a twister; like a hurricane in the USA or Canada
- low pace of movement as its strong wind develops
Unpredicted effects of the said typhoon were never announced by PAG-ASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration).
Continuing effects on the environment and the people followed:
- cutting off of electricity to avoid harmful accident caused by the swelling of rain waters
- flash floods displaced some families at low-lying areas; some risking their lives as evacuation progressed
- soil erosion happened in some mountainous areas as the continuous rain saturated the soil
- single, wooden, bamboo-type of houses or nipa huts are often destroyed by just mild gustiness of the typhoon's wind.
Preparing for the Storm
My checklist included the following for emergency purposes as the electric cooperative cut off the power at 1 o'clock in the afternoon while we're enjoying the Paquiao-Mosley bout amid the heavy downpour of rain.
- emergency lights - include candles, LED lights or the light emitting diode
- Foods - for the three of us (mother and my deaf-mute sister) plus the feeds for the two hogs and three cats
- umbrella and raincoats - in order not to get wet; colds and flu can up-rise if I get wet frequently.
- batteries - to be used for my transistor radio and to keep abreast with the news, specially the weather bulletin
- cellular phone - I had to conserve its battery as my sister texted me about our situation.
- digital camera - documentation is a must these days to ask for help and be counted authentically by the local authorities
Aftermath of a StormClick thumbnail to view full-size
Essaying the Storm
Securing the windows of my abode to avoid too much water-drift, preparing hot water, keeping the animals well-fed, including us plus some readings kept me busy, ignoring the howling wind and the occasional darkness as I shut-off the LED lights from time to time.
I sleep like the wet chicken outside, often responding on the sound of angry wind outside as the tropical cyclone pummeled the roof of the houses in the neighborhood.
It lasted for two days as the storm was unpredictably brought chaos to some residents as they huddled on the water-laden floor of their houses.
Some were evacuated at the school premise as the water in the river swelled continuously and gusty wind destroyed rice fields and other farm crops, including bananas, mangoes and coconuts.
Our former house location served as temporary haven for some cows and carabaos owned by our neighbors.
There were reports that some residents died because of hypothermia or loss of body temperature due to extreme cold and others from accidents, like erosion, drowning and heart attack.
This hubber reported the case in the radio through texting on the cellular phone. Local television station visited the area as soon as they got the initial information when the storm subsided.
This is just the first of the storms we're waiting here in the country as the effects of La Nina intensifies. More storms are expected to visit the country as the wet season starts on July.
Wet summer, as everyone say, is both a relief to farmers and disasters to some, especially those who are living near the coastal areas.
I hope local governments will not turn a deaf ears on the demand of their constituents when they needed them the most.