MANILA, Philippines – Torrential rains spawned by the southwest monsoon paralyzed Metro Manila and nearby areas yesterday, triggering deadly landslides and floods up to four feet deep that left at least five people dead and seven others missing.

Robert Sawi, weather division chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the southwest monsoon enhanced by tropical storm “Haikui” off Taiwan will continue to bring occasional to frequent rains over Luzon, including Metro Manila, until today.

Sawi said moderate to heavy rains are still expected in the provinces of Ilocos, La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and the National Capital Region until today.

Storm Haikui was spotted at 300 kilometers northeast of Taiwan yesterday.

PAGASA weathermen said the storm is not expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility.

“Gradual improvement of weather condition by Thursday and onwards to the weekend,” PAGASA said in its advisory.

However, it continued to warn residents against landslides and flashfloods in mountainous areas and floods in low-lying areas.

Sawi said PAGASA’s stations in Science Garden in Quezon City and Port Area in Manila recorded 325 millimeters and 301 mm of rain from 8 a.m. on Monday to 8 a.m. yesterday.

PAGASA administrator Nathaniel Servando said the highest volume of rainfall was recorded between 8 p.m. on Monday and 8 a.m. yesterday at 323.4 mm in Quezon City.

The average rainfall for the month of August in Science Garden, Quezon City is 504.2 mm, 432.4 mm in Port Area, Manila and 418.4 mm at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Parañaque City.

“It is not Ondoy-type rainfall,” Servando said at a press briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) headquarters in Quezon City.

Tropical storm “Ondoy” dumped 445 mm of rain in Metro Manila and nearby areas in September 2009, leaving swathes of the metropolis flooded.

The red alert warning of PAGASA was still up over Metro Manila as of noon yesterday, which means heavy rains in the next two hours and high risk of serious flooding.


By: Helen Flores