20th Typhoon Set to Enter Philippines

2013 Typhoon Tracker

After dealing with strong winds and rough rains brought about by Typhoon “Santi” (international name Nari) two days ago, another typhoon is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) this evening.

Typhoon “Tino” (international name Wipha) however is not expected to make landfall and will not affect the country. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the country’s weather bureau said that caution should still be observed as it will bring isolated rain showers or thunderstorms particularly in North and Central Luzon. The coastal waters of these areas will range from moderate to rough. Residents in low-lying areas and fishermen are thus advised to still take precautionary measures.

PAGASA also noted that with its speed of 20 kph and moving north northwest, Typhoon “Tino” is expected to exit the country by Tuesday morning.

The New Normal

The Philippines is annually frequented by storms and typhoons but the residents are still jittery over reports of another weather disturbance. Over the past few years, typhoons and storms are getting more intense and stronger. Experts blame global warming for this. PAGASA warned that this could be the “new normal” and residents should expect stronger typhoons and storms.

Just this Saturday, Typhoon “Santi” battered east and north Luzon leaving 13 people dead, displaced 43,000 residents and million pesos worth of properties destroyed due to massive floods, fallen trees and toppled electrical posts. This left cities and towns in five provinces in Luzon without electricity.

Major streets and thoroughfares in affected Luzon towns and cities were made impassable due to the occurrence of flash floods. The resulting scene was heavy traffic. Residents were forced to walk home.

The military together with civilian volunteers worked double time last Sunday to help clear roads of debris and helped in the restoration of electricity.

Last month, Typhoon “Odette” (international name Usagi) wreaked havoc in Luzon leaving 30 people dead and million pesos worth of properties destroyed.

Humans are to Blame?

The increasing intensity and frequency of storms and typhoons happening not only in the Philippines but also elsewhere in the world can be blamed on us – humans, according to the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society as reported by Kenneth Rapoza of Forbes.com.

Evidences show that global warming due to pollution caused by humans can lead to warmer oceans which can spawn stronger storms, typhoons and hurricanes. Experts also theorized that when temperatures are rising at the earth’s poles, ice on those regions melt. When that happens the water levels rise and have the potential to flood low-lying areas. The study did not directly point to global warming as the main culprit but somehow this anomaly is a factor on why weather patterns are what it is today.

Whether or not global warming is the cause of stronger typhoons and storms especially over the Pacific Ocean, the fact remains that lives and properties are lost every time storms strike. The people and their governments must always brace themselves for this fact and prepare to avert unnecessary deaths and destruction.

By Roberto Belda

Forbes

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