The wrath of the storm

By Joshua Corcuera

Super Typhoon (ST) Karding, with international name Noru, has caused major and serious devastation to several areas in Luzon, especially in Central Luzon. Likewise, Metro Manila was partially affected from the wrath of the strong storm.

I started writing this article just before sunset on Sunday, September 25. It was mind-boggling to be honest because before today, I and my connections have not heard anything serious about the storm which turned out to be a powerful super typhoon. Although I was aware that there was a typhoon, I did not expect that it would be so strong, nor did I perceive that it would affect Metro Manila. Basically, the storm’s strength was underestimated, from a personal point of view at least. Part of the reason is the unexpected ‘rapid intensification’ of ST Karding. In less than 24 hours, Karding has transitioned from a merely manageable tropical storm to a life-threatening super typhoon. By the time I woke up earlier this morning, I was startled to learn that Metro Manila is under signal number 3 and some parts were elevated to signal number 4 a few hours later. Yesterday, I even thought that Karding would hit other provinces in Luzon and not Metro Manila.

According to a post on Twitter by Derek Van Dam, meteorologist from well-known news outlet CNN, the winds brought by the typhoon increased by 150 kph in 12 hours. Meanwhile, weather forecaster Robb Gile, as reported by SCMP, said that the rapid intensification of Karding was ‘unprecedented’. On the other hand, PAGASA, the state weather bureau of the country, noted Karding’s ‘explosive intensification’.

So far, rains are strong though I hope they won’t get stronger for obvious reasons. In the city, torrential rain seems to be the greater concern and not strong winds; the contrary seems to be true for those in the provinces and rural areas. Here in the city, flooding can seriously impact livelihoods for several days and, to some, even a few weeks depending on the strength of the storm. Moreover, some houses may be partially damaged due to leaks in walls, the ceiling, and the roof as a consequence of strong rains.


Monday, September 26

It is quarter to 10 AM and I woke up three hours earlier to see a clear, blue sky and a sunny morning. The road is wet but not flooded and there seems to be no serious damage in my street. There are people going to the market, there are jeepneys and vehicles on the road, businesses are open as usual, utilities such as electricity, water, and the internet are unaffected. Generally, things are fine right here in where I live. Last night, the rain was strong, but manageable, and it may have only caused a few, minor leaks in the walls and ceiling.

While it is not bad from a personal perspective, it surely is not good for other people especially those in Central Luzon where the typhoon crossed. Apparently, the landfall of the typhoon is in Quezon Province and Aurora Province before passing through the provinces of Central Luzon. News outlets have released aerial pictures of Bulacan that is submerged from flood.

It is imperative to remember that Central Luzon is a major producer of agricultural products, especially rice. Thus, the suffering of our farmers, specifically their livelihood, is something that we hope would be alleviated and addressed immediately by authorities. Furthermore, ensuring that our food supply is unaffected must be similarly addressed.

To my surprise, Western Visayas was also affected by the typhoon. According to a Facebook post by Daily Guardian, citing a concerned citizen, the Egaña Bridge in Sibalom, Antique collapsed as a result of the typhoon.

With this catastrophe, we must be reminded that stronger storms are likely to be the norm in the future as climate change remains unabated. For instance, the rapid intensification of Karding is caused by warm waters in the Pacific. If climate change were not a factor, Karding’s strength will probably be weaker and, perhaps, its impact will be much more manageable.

Furthermore, the Sierra Madre was mentioned to be a natural barrier that weakens typhoons. By the time Karding made landfall in Aurora, it was lowered from a super typhoon to a typhoon. This should be a strong message to everyone, especially those who read this article, to take good care of the environment.