Illustrated is the devastation caused by Typhoon Sendong. ( Photo from Punjabi News )
By Honor Blanco Cabie, PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
The brewing tropical depression this weekend near the country’s third island of Samar, which lies on the typhoon path, brings yet again to Filipino memory the devastating track of a dozen weather disturbances since the 1950s.
These are typhoons that hit the country’s eastern seaboard with international names which moved westward into or formed as tropical depressions as they inched closer to the archipelago.
Since 1963, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has been assigning local storm names for everything from a typhoon to a tropical depression in the monitored area – always referred to in weather bulletins as the Philippine Area of Responsibility or PAR.
This is from 115E to 135E and from 5N to 25N — except for a portion of the northwestern corner of these coordinates — even if the cyclone has had a name assigned to it by the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Tropical depressions that are monitored by the United States’ Joint Typhoon Warning Center are given a number with a “W” suffix.
Weather forecasters say it is the general consensus that local names – those in Filipino — are easier remembered and heeded among those within the PAR.
Naming a tropical depression early is believed to allow residents to prepare for the sometimes disastrous flooding that can result from even a weak tropical depression.
Once the names are used for the season, a set of auxiliary names is used. The names are then rotated annually. Every four years, the names start over again, weather forecaster say.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the international names of storms “make it easier for people to understand and remember the tropical cyclone in a region, thus to facilitate disaster risk awareness, preparedness, management and reduction.”
It added: “Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods.”
On Nov. 2-7, 1991, Tropical Storm Uring, with 95 kph winds, left 5,101 deaths – to an unofficial high of 8,000 plus – with P 1.045 billion in damage.
Uring was a weak tropical storm that moved quickly through Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Negros. But because of the heavy precipitation, rivers swelled and landslides came down in a deluge in the mid-morning of Nov. 5 at the upper areas of Ormoc City in Leyte.
Super Typhoon Rosing, which cut a swathe of destruction on Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 1995 with its 260 kph winds, left 936 deaths and P 10.829 billion damage to crops and infrastructure.
This killer typhoon came a day after Typhoon Pepang ravaged Leyte, Cebu, Negros and Panay.
Typhoon Frank stormed through the country on June 18-23, 2008 with 172 kph winds, left 938 deaths (unofficial estimate up to 1,501) and P 13.321 billion damage.
Typhoon Nitang, which lashed the country on Aug. 31-Sept. 4, 1984 with 220 kph winds, left 1,363 deaths (unofficial estimates: 1,492-3,000 +) and P 4.1 billion damage.
Super Typhoon Reming hit the Philippines on Nov. 26-Dec. 1, 2006 with 320 kph winds, left on its trail 734 deaths (unofficial estimate up to 1,200) and P 5.086 billion damage.
This usual looking typhoon forming in the Pacific slowly during the 28th of November would become the country’s worst typhoon since records have been written.
Two days since its birth in the Philippine Sea near the south of the Marianas, Reming intensified into a typhoon of minimal strength. But in less than 24 hours it strengthened to an even large, solid rotating mass of pure fury.
Super Typhoon Ruping jabbed the Philippines on Nov. 10-14, 1990 with 220 kph winds and left a grim toll of 748 deaths and P 10.846 billion damage as it moved through central Philippines and northern Palawan.
Super Typhoon Sisang hit the Philippines on Nov. 23-27, 1987 with its 240 kph winds and left 979 deaths and P 1.119 billion damage while super typhoon Sening, which crashed through Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions with 275 kph winds on Oct. 11-15, 1970 left 768 deaths and P 1.89 billion damage.
Typhoon Pepeng, which lashed the Philippines on Sept. 30-Oct. 11, 2009 with 120 kph winds, left 492 deaths and
P 27.195 billion damage.
The jab came days after Tropical Storm Ondoy soaked Central Luzon and Metro Manila, and left a lasting scar in the region.
Super Typhoon Loleng cut through the country on Oct. 15-24, 1998 with 250 kph winds and left 303 deaths and
P 6.787 billion damage.
Typhoon Amy swept through the Philippines on Dec. 6-19, 1951 with 240 kph winds and left 991 deaths and P 0.7 billion damage.
Typhoon Undang, which tore through the Philippines on Nov. 3-6, 1984 with 230 kph winds left 895 deaths and
P 1.9B damage.
A little over a month after Nitang ravaged the Visayas and Northern Mindanao, Undang entered the Philippines as a very strong typhoon and reached almost “super typhoon” status ravaging Southern parts of Samar by early morning of Nov. 5, according to official records.