As we bid goodbye to 2015, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza says no weather disturbance or Tropical Cyclone is expected to affect the country. On the last Monday of the year, the Northeast Monsoon, locally known as Amihan prevails and continues to affect the extreme Northern Luzon.
Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains will be experienced over the islands of Batanes, Babuyan and Calayan. Pinoys in the rest of the country can finish their errands and preparations for the upcoming New Year’s celebration as generally fair weather is expected. However, isolated thunderstorms may still occur in the latter part of the day so don’t forget to keep your rain gear with you!
Meanwhile, Mendoza added that sea travel for fishing boats and other small seacraft may be risky over the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon. Coastal waters over the rest of the archipelago will have slight to moderate seas.
Aside from isolated light rains, Amihan also triggers colder weather, mostly during the night or early mornings. Here are the lowest temperatures recorded yesterday:
Mendoza explained that temperatures this year are slightly higher that 2014 due to the El Niño phenomenon, which is still solidly in place. El Niño is expected to affect the country until the early part of 2016.
Kanlaon Volcano continues to emit ash
During the past 24 hours, twenty-nine volcanic earthquakes were recorded from Kanlaon Volcano in Negros. Still under Alert Level 1, it spewed ash from the active crater at around 1:29 PM yesterday.
According to the Philippine Institue to Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), traces of light ash fall were experienced in Sitio Guintubdan, Brgy. Ara-al, Brgy. Yubo, and Brgy. La Grania, La Carlota City, Brgy, Cabagnaan, Brgay. Sag-ang, La Castellana, Brgy. Miranda, Hinigaran in Negros Occidental, and the Municipality of Pontevedra in Negros Occidental. It even reached as far as Nueva Valencia in Guimaras.
The public and local government units are reminded to stay away from the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) due to possible sudden and dangerous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.
Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay is famous for having a “perfect cone” shape, its beauty prodding the government to declare it a natural park and a protected landscape in 1938.
But nowadays, this natural wonder is temporarily closed from the public, prohibiting tourist activities such as mountain climbing and ATV driving within its 6-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) because of its possible eruption. Entering the PDZ puts people at risk, not only for its sudden explosion, but also for rock fall and landslides.
What makes the situation different from past abnormalities is the presence of a 30 to 40-meter lava dome on what PHILVOLCS calls our country’s most active volcano, a swelling on the 200-meter crater that releases smoke. If the lava dome increases its size, blocks the crater and is followed by a consistent, intense degassing, a full blast explosion will occur.
PHIVOLCS has kept the warning on Alert Level 2 as Mayon continues to emit volcanic gas. Its anticipated “big bang” is predicted to be magmatic, affecting over 28,000 families in 66 barangays. But the voluminous pyroclastic flows composed of hot rocks and gas are not the sole threat; volcanic ash fall is also a risk that comes without precursors. Ash fall comprises of pulverized minerals and rocks, which may inflict discomfort to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Also, its large volume can cause roofs to collapse.
It has been four years since the volcano’s last eruption, which typically happens within an interval of four to twelve years. Although there were just three to six-year intervals in Mayon’s recent eruptions, its potential major outburst can be observed at least three months in advance, with the help of PHIVOLCS’ instruments and observation of the volcano’s physical appearance.
Over 30,000 individuals may need to evacuate from the slopes of the volcano in the next few days. Albay Governor Joey Salceda has also issued a health advisory last August 19 (Tuesday), including the identification of evacuation centers per local government unit, deployment of a rapid assessment and survey team, water facilities, toilet facilities, a disposal system and medical stations, among others.
DISTINCT VOLCANIC EVENTS
The Mayon volcano has a lengthy history of activity. Here are some of its noteworthy eruptions:
February 1, 1814
Considered as the most destructive eruption of Mayon with 1,200 deaths to lahar that buried homes in Cagsawa, Malinao and Mounts Marasaga and Catburauan. This also led to the submerging of Cagsawa Church, now Cagsawa Ruins.
June 4 – July 23, 1897
350 people died during its 17-hour violent phase, mostly due to pyroclastic flows.
December 14, 2009
Alert level 3 was raised after 83 volcanic quakes transpired in just one day leading residents to an almost 2-month stay in evacuation sites. There were no casualties in spite of the lava flows and increased sulfur dioxide emissions.
May 7, 2013
Five climbers died due to a sudden spewing of ash and rocks from the volcano.
For more facts about the Mayon Volcano, check out the photo below:
George Vincent Gamayo is a senior segment producer of Panahon TV aired daily at 5:00 AM on the People’s Television (PTV). He is also the writer and director of PROJECT DINA or Disaster Information for Nationwide Awareness, a flagship project of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Office of Civil Defense which serves as a public exposition and access of disaster risk reduction and management information materials.