Sigh of Relief as Mirinae Exits Philippines Quickly
A feared nightmarish Halloween night in the Philippines did not happen as powerful typhoon Mirinae zipped across Southern Luzon, leaving only minimal damage.
Filipinos heaved a sigh of relief Saturday, October 31, 2009, as Typhoon Mirinae (local name “Santi”) exited the Philippines quickly, leaving damages far less extensive than feared.
Residents wade through a flooded street caused by flash floods brought about by Typhoon Mirinae in the town of Santa Cruz, Laguna province. (AFP)
The once powerful typhoon weakened into a tropical storm after raking across Southern Luzon, causing floods, landslides and power failure in some areas.
Authorities said three people were reported dead as a result of the typhoon while five others were reported missing.
However, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Mirinae would have inflicted greater damage if it had moved slower like Typhoon Xangsane (local name “Milenyo”) which devastated Metro Manila on Sept. 28, 2006.
Mirinae made landfall between 12 midnight and 1 a.m. Saturday in Quezon province, packing maximum winds of 150 kph and gustiness of 180 kph, PAGASA said.
The typhoon then swept across the provinces of Laguna, Batangas and Cavite before brushing past Metro Manila on its way to the South China Sea, it added.
Regional officials said a total of 23,101 families or 115,507 people were evacuated in 251 evacuation centers in Metro Manila and several provinces in the Bicol region and in Southern Luzon.
Thousands of commuters were also stranded in several ports as a result of the typhoon.
Flooding was reported in several areas in Metro Manila. In Pasay City alone, four villages were submerged in floodwaters as high as waist-deep.
Floods also swept several areas in Manila, Quezon City and the neighboring cities of Navotas, San Juan, Pasig and Parañaque.
Power outages also struck many areas in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon.
PAGASA said it recorded 350 mm rainfall in Quezon province.
Dr. Frisco Nilo, PAGASA director, said two to three more typhoons are expected to enter the Philippines before yearend. Based on past experiences, during this time of the year, areas most likely to be hit by typhoons are the Bicol region, Visayas and the northeastern part of Mindanao, he said.
Mirinae was the 19th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.
PAGASA said good weather is expected throughout the Philippines Sunday, giving Filipinos the opportunity to visit the graves of their departed loved ones in commemoration of All Saints’ Day.
Military authorities said the first fatality attributed to the onslaught of Mirinae was reported in Pililia, Rizal when a man drowned while crossing a creek with his one-year old child at around 1 a.m. Saturday. The officials said they received two other reports of fatalities in the provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Norte.
In Batangas City, a bridge collapsed at the height of the typhoon. As a result, a car with three persons on board fell into the river.
Rescuers were able to save a woman who was on board the car. But the two other passengers, including a three-year old child, remained missing, officials said.