As we begin the countdown to ending another year, we take a look at the weather events that made 2014 memorable, weather-wise.
Situation: Tropical Cyclones
This year, a total of 19 tropical cyclones entered the PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility).
The first was Agaton, which made its entry last January 17. Though it was identified as a Tropical Depression, the lowest category for cyclones, Agaton caused severe flooding in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and the CARAGA region.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), 244,344 families were affected in more than a thousand villages in 16 provinces. There were at least 1,147 houses destroyed and more than one thousand partially damaged. All in all, damages in infrastructure and agriculture were estimated at more than 500 million pesos.
From the 19 tropical cyclones that entered PAR, 10 were under the Typhoon category with wind speeds of 118 to 220 kilometers per hour.
From these 10 typhoons, Ompong and Ruby could be categorized as Super Typhoons.
Entering PAR on October 7 and making its exit on October 11, Ompong, with international name Vongfong, was classified by the U.S Joint Typhoon Warning Center as a Category 5 Super Typhoon.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour and gustiness of 250 kilometers per hour, Ompong—thankfully— did not hit the country as it re-curved towards Mainland Japan.
But Typhoon Ruby was totally different story. With the fitting “Hagupit” as its international name, Ruby entered the country’s boundary on December 3 and made its way out on December 11. With maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour and gustiness of 250 kilometers per hour, Ompong made five landfalls.
First landfall: Dolores, Eastern Samar
Second landfall: Cataingan, Masbate
Third landfall: Torrijos, Masbate
Fourth landfall: Laiya, Batangas
Fifth landfall: Lubang, Island
The NDRRMC filed a total of more than four million residents affected in Regions III, IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, CARAGA and the National Capital Region. 18 deaths were recorded while injured persons reached up to 916. Ruby damaged mostly infrastructure and agriculture—the total cost amounting to more than 5 billion peos.
Due to its devastating impact, a state of calamity was declared in San Pablo City in Laguna, Batangas, Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Naga City, Juaban and Gubat in Sorsogon, Sorsogon City, Aklan; Maayon, Dumalag and Panay in Capiz; and Northern and Eastern Samar.
Because fatal storm surges brought by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 made the public more aware of this weather phenomenon, Ruby kept Filipinos on their toes.
Coincidentally, while Ruby was inside PAR, an astronomical event happened. This was the Full Moon phase, which caused higher tidal variations due to our satellite’s strong gravitational pull.
Weather forecaster Chris Perez explained that higher waves were expected due to the combination of storm surge and the effects of the Full Moon.
Watch the Interview: Storm Tide
PAGASA officially announced the start of the Hot and Dry season last March 26. Easterlies, the prevailing wind system during this time, brought hot and humid weather to the country.
Aside from the easterlies, this season’s indicators included the presence of the High Pressure Area (HPA), which brings good weather conditions, the termination of the northeast monsoon, and the increase in temperatures.
Upon the onset of the Hot and Dry season, the country undeniably experienced a number of scorching days that were especially evident in the Luzon area.
In March, Tuguegarao recorded a maximum temperature of 37.9 degrees Celsius. But its days got hotter in April and May, which brought in temperatures of 39 degrees and 39.8 degrees consecutively.
Meanwhile, the Science Garden in Quezon City documented a high of 36.7 degrees Celsius in May.
The Unpredictable El Niño
Within this year, the El Niño phenomenon became a hot topic during the hot season as PAGASA continued to monitor the ups and down of sea surface temperature.
From April 21 to 28, PAGASA recorded a substantial increase in the sea surface temperature anomaly from 0.2 to 0.4 degree Celsius. It was then forecast that El Niño might reach its peak in the last quarter of 2014.
But with the recent report from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, only weak El Nino conditions were observed in November and December.
Here comes the rain!
The rainy season in the country officially started in June 10. Before declaring the onset of this season, PAGASA first made sure that the following requirements were met:
• Daily thunderstorm activity
• Prevailing southwest monsoon
• 5-day period with a total rainfall of 25 millimeters or more in three consecutive days.
Come on, Amihan!
The Amihan season was officially declared by PAGASA on October 16. The northeast monsoon or amihan is the prevailing wind system, bringing light rains to its affected areas. It also has cold and dry characteristics, resulting to colder mornings.
At this time of the year, a gradual decrease in temperatures was observed in different parts of the country.
Winter season in the northern hemisphere officially started on December 22 this year. This also signaled the start of experiencing longer nights and shorter days in the Philippines.
During the winter solstice, the northern hemisphere leans the farthest distance from the Sun, causing longer nights and lower temperatures for those in the northern hemisphere. The opposite happens in the southern hemisphere where people experience the longest day.
Related article: Winter has arrived
Although a lot has happened this year, there’s more to come this 2015. So brace yourself for those inevitable storms, but remember to keep to the sunny side of the street. With all the changes the weather brings, one thing stays the same: the Filipino brand of resilience that knows no bounds.
Before departing from the Philippine boundary, Ruby has intensified into Tropical Storm category with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of about 80 kph. PAGASA weather forecaster Benison Estareja said that this because Ruby is within the vicinity of the West Philippines Sea–it’s increase in intensity due to the moisture it had gathered from the ocean.
Tropical storm Ruby was last located at 505 kilometers west southwest of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, moving at a speed of 20 kph. If it maintains its velocity, Ruby will exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) tonight according to PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio. Because of its distance, it will have no direct effect on any part of the country, confirmed Estareja.
Cold Weather awaits
The northeast monsoon has found its way again to Northern Luzon. Cold weather with lights rains will be experienced mostly in Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos Region.
Baguio City’s temperature will range from 15 to 23 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, with the intrusion of winds from the east, fair weather is expected over Metro Manila and the rest of the country. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers are possible in the afternoon or evening.
Top 3 places with highest amount of rainfall
During the passage of Ruby, areas in Southern Luzon has recorded the highest amount of rainfall.
Ruby continues to weaken as it traverses the landmass of Southern Luzon. With maximum sustained winds of 60 kph, Ruby is now downgraded to Tropical Depression, the lowest category of Tropical Cyclones.
PAGASA Weather Forecaster Glaiza Escullar said the weakeaning of Ruby is due to the friction between the landmass and the weather disturbance, and the intrusion of the northeast monsoon or amihan–cold and dry air mass that is not favorable to cyclone intensification.
Tropical Depression Ruby made its fifth landfall over Lubang Island at 5 AM today. Its first landfall was in Dolores, Eastern Samar last Saturday at past 9 PM. Its second landfall was in Cataingan, Masbate last Sunday morning. The third was in Torrijos, Masbate yesterday at 11:05 in the morning. Its fourth landfall was in Laiya, Batangas yesterday at 5:45 PM.
At 4 AM today, Ruby was located at 80 kilometers southwest of Ambulong, Tanuan City in Batangas, moving westward at 13 kph. (FOR REVISIONS PAG MAY LATEST LOCATION)
Escullar confirmed that if Ruby maintains its velocity, it is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday.
Public Storm Warning Signal
Areas included under Public Storm Warning Signal no. 1 will experience occasional rains with gusty winds.
Meanwhile, Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere have been lifted.
Tuesday rainy weather
Apart from those under Public Storm Warning Signal no. 1, the rest of Central Luzon, Bicol Region and MIMAROPA will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms.
Because the amihan is now affecting Northern Luzon. cold weather and light rains are expected over Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera and Ilocos Regions.
Rainfall Data as Ruby crawl along PH islands.
Here is a list of areas that accumulated the highest rainfall during the passage of Ruby.
Typhoon Haiyan,last year locally named Yolanda, which wreaked havoc in Eastern Visayas last year, remains to be the strongest typhoon, bearing maximum sustained winds of 235 kph. However, Typhoon Ruby now holds the title of being the longest-staying typhoon inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this year.
State Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza says Ruby beats the 5-day record of Typhoon Henry back in July this year. Today is Ruby’s fifth day in PAR, and is now expected to exit our area of responsibility on Thursday morning instead of the earlier forecasted Tuesday.
The said typhoon further weakens as it continues to cross the archipelago, packing winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph. It is now traversing the Sibuyan Sea at a speed of 10 kph moving in a west northwest direction.
After hitting Dolores, Eastern Samar late Saturday and Masbate yesterday morning, Ruby is expected to make landfall in northern Mindoro tonight, between 6 to 8 in the evening. Residents living in the said province are advised against moderate to heavy rainfall, strong winds and possible storm surge generated by the typhoon.
Public Storm Warning Signals as of this morning:
Areas under Signals Number two and three will experience stormy weather. Occurrence of a storm surge 1 to 2 meters high is possible in the coastal areas.
The remaining areas of Luzon and Visayas not included in the warning signals can expect rainy weather. Mindanao will experience improved weather conditions although thunderstorm formation is still possible in the following hours.
Metro Manila, on the other hand, can expect to feel the effects of the typhoon once it makes landfall in Northern Mindoro tonight. Residents can expect moderate to occasional heavy rains as it is the closest distance the typhoon will be from the metro.
Meanwhile, Malacanang announces the suspension of work in government agencies in the National Capital Region and in Southern Luzon today. Offices whose work involves the delivery of health services and disaster response are exempted.
Typhoon Ruby weakens after making landfall at Dolores, Eastern Samar at 9:15 PM Saturday. It is expected to bring strong winds and heavy to torrential rainfall with a possible 3-meter storm surge over the vicinity of Masbate this morning.
PAGASA weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar says in an interview this morning at Panahon TV, the typhoon is expected to be in Romblon tonight, moving towards Mindoro province by tomorrow.
Currently northwest of Catbalogan City in the province of Samar, Ruby packs winds of 160 kph with gustiness of up to 195 kph. The typhoon continues to move west northwest at 15 kph.
The typhoon weakens as it gets less moisture to sustain its strength inland,Escullar explains.
If it maintains current speed and direction, Ruby is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday morning.
In PAGASA’s latest weather bulletin, Public Storm Warning Signals are raised over the following areas:
Residents living along coastlines are advised on possible storm surges, which may reach up to 2 to 3 meters in areas under storm warning signals #2 and #3.
Typhoon Ruby and the northeast monsoon will also bring rough to very rough sea conditions over the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and the northern seaboards of Mindanao.
Sea travel is dangerous due to big waves that may reach up to 5 meters, and strong to gale force winds generated by the mentioned weather systems.
In the following hours, stormy weather will be experienced over the provinces under storm signals 2 and 3, particularly in Visayas, Bicol Region, Calabarzon and the provinces of Romblon, Mindoro and Marinduque.
Typhoon Ruby is expected to make its landfall over Dolores, Eastern Samar tonight between 8-10 PM. Residents in said areas are advised against strong winds, heavy to intense rainfall and storm surges up to 4.5 meters in height.
PAGASA Weather Forecaster Chris Perez says that if Ruby continues to move westward at 10 kph, after crossing Samar Provinces it would traverse the landmass of Ticao Island, Masbate and Romblon within 48 hours.
The Ridge of High Pressure Area influenced the movement of Typhoon Ruby, allowing it to dump more rains over the Visayas areas and portions of Southern Luzon and Northern Mindanao.
As of 1 PM today, Ruby was located at 230 kilometers East of Catarman, Northern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 185 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 220 kph.
Public Storm Warning Signal
Public Storm Warning Signals (PSWS) are being raised as Typhoon Ruby moves in closer to the landmass.
Threat of Storm Surge
Perez explained that coastal areas under Signals no. 3 and 2 are more prone to the possibility of storm surges.
However, the 4.5-meter wave height is not expected in all coastal areas. Perez says the height of storm surge depends on the coastal bathymetry, or as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) refers to “ocean’s depths that is relative to sea level or the depths and shape of underwater terrains.”
High storm surges are most likely to happen in coastal areas with shallow bathymetry.
Full moon and Storm Surge= STORM TIDE
Tonight, the moon will be on its Full Moon phase when the Moon, Earth and Sun are in near alignment. During this phase, the Moon is at the opposite side of the Earth, its entire illuminated part facing us.
The Full moon has a strong gravitational pull that can affect tidal variations. Because of the Full Moon, Perez says there is a possible occurrence of “storm tide,” which can generate higher waves than storm surges. Storm tide happens with the combined effect of the Full Moon and a storm surge.
Typhoon Ruby has maintained its strength while nearing the landmass of Eastern Samar. At 10 AM today, Ruby was located at 435 kilometers east of Borongan, Eastern Samar, packing winds of 215 kph near its center and gustiness of about 250 kph.
Within 24 hours, Ruby is expected to be at 120 kilometers east-northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar. PAGASA weather forecaster Chris Perez said Ruby is forecast to make landfall between the Northern and Eastern Samar tomorrow evening.
Categorized as a Super Typhoon by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), storm surges of up to 5 meters over the eastern portion of Samar, Bicol and Surigao are expected.
Heavy to intense rainfall (7.2 to 20mm) is also expected within the 700-kilometer diameter of Ruby. Though Metro Manila will not be hit directly by the eye of the typhoon, its cloud bands will bring heavy to intense rains with gusty winds. The weather bureau added that there is a possibility of raising a Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) once it affects Metro Manila.
Chris said from the press briefing held at PAGASA Weather and Flood Forecasting Center, Ruby may maintain its 250 kilometer radius while crossing the landmass of the Philippines. This means, Ruby will dumped rains over areas within the said radius.
Yolanda Vs. Ruby
Chris explained, in comparison to Super Typhoon Yolanda with 30 plus kph, Ruby is moving in a slower pace with 13 kph. With this scenario, rains will be more concentrated over a certain area that may results to flooding.
Today, aside from Ruby, the northeast monsoon will also bring light rains in Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and the Ilocos Region.
Meanwhile stormy weather is expected in the next 24 hours over Eastern Visayas, the CARAGA Region, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Northern Cebu, including Cebu City and the islands of Bantayan, Camotes and Ticao.
The rest of Visayas and the Bicol Region, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin and Romblon will experience rains with gusty winds. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will experience light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms for the next hours.
Public Storm Warning Signal
Storm warning signals are now being raised by PAGASAto warn people living in areas likely to be affected by Ruby.
Signal no. 2: Winds of 61-100 kph are expected in at least 24 hours. Few large trees may be uprooted and a large number of nipa and cogon houses may be unroofed.
Signal no. 1: Winds of 30-60 kph are expected in at least 36 hours. Banana plants may tilt or land flat on the ground, rice in flowering stage may suffer significant damage and sea travel of small seacraft and fishing boats is risky.
As of 3:00 AM today, the typhoon with international name “Hagupit”, has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and was given the local name “Ruby”. At 7:00 AM, the eye of Typhoon Ruby was estimated at 930 kilometers east of Surigao City.
It has maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 210 kilometers per hour. Moving west northwest at 25 kilometers per hour, it continues to move closer to the Philippine landmass.
There are no public storm warning signals yet but as the typhoon nears the country, the Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, CARAGA and Davao Region will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers or thunderstorms. Aside from Ruby, the northeast monsoon or amihan prevails over Northern Luzon. This weather system is expected to bring light rains over Cagayan Valley, Aurora and Quezon.
Meanwhile, the Cordillera and Ilocos Regions will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will experience a chance of isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
The seaboards of Northern Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon, Visayas and of Mindanao will have rough to very rough sea conditions. Expected wind force will range from 52 to 63 kilometers per hour with a wave height of 3.4 to 4.5 meters.
Higher chance of landfall
According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Buddy Javier, two scenarios are still being monitored:
1) 75% possibility of Ruby crossing the landmass
2) 25% possibility of Ruby re-curving away from the country.
As a precautionary measure, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a list of areas that are critical due to the threat of Typhoon Ruby.
Listed below are different schools in Visayas that have already announced class suspension as preparation for the approaching typhoon.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and PAGASA released a list of areas deemed critical as Typhoon Hagupit threatens the Philippines.
As the typhoon approaches, 44 provinces has been put under Alert Level C. These areas may experience 10 to 20 millimeters per hour of rainfall, which translates to heavy to intense rains, bringing heavy damage to agriculture, disruption of electrical power, and threat to travel.
Meanwhile, 6 provinces are expected to experience moderate to heavy rainfall at 5 to 10 millimeters per hour categorized under Alert Level B. Moderate damage to agriculture and risky travel are possible due to wind strength of 30 to 60 kilometers per hour, which is enough to uproot a few large trees and dislodge iron roofing.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila is put under Alert Level A, along with five more provinces. 5 to 10 millimeters per hour or moderate to heavy rainfall is expected with winds reaching up to 30 to 45 kilometers per hour.
Check the complete list below: