15 September 2014
Heavy rainfall brought by the southwest monsoon, locally called Habagat, brought 2 consecutive years of floods to Metro Manila starting 2012. In 2014, state weather bureau PAGASA again warned Metro Manila to prepare for monsoon rains from August 5 to August 8, 2014 as Typhoon Jose (Halong) enhanced the southwest monsoon that would affect parts of Luzon. It had already caused flooding in Makati City on August 4,causing heavy gridlock due to impassable roads on the same night (Esmaquel 2014). At 10:39 PM on 4 August 2014, Marikina City officials raised the first alarm due to the water level of the Marikina River reaching 15 meters (Rappler, 2014). No other warnings were issued after this event, at least for the rest of the month of August.
On the following month of September, however, the waters of Marikina River rose again due to the enhancement of the monsoon rains by Typhoon Luis (International name, Kalmaegi). On Sunday night, 14 September 2014, the river’s water level reached more than 17 meters, which prompted the local officials to raise its third alarm. The third alarm meant that citizens should evacuate to designated centers. The DOST Project NOAH water level sensor at Sto. Niño station showed a level of 17.35 meters at 4:31 am, early Monday morning, September 15 (Rappler, 2014).
Typhoon Mario (international name, Fung-Wong) next enhanced the southwest monsoon by pouring 220 millimeters of rain in 24 hours, which caused even higher water levels in the Marikina River. The fourth alarm of the city’s local early warning system was raised on Friday, 19 September 2014, and residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the water level reached a critical 19.9 meters, according to the city’s Public Information Office (Rappler, 2014). This is equivalent to a rise in river water compared to its summer level equivalent to 8.74 meters or the combined height of about 3 basketball rings. A total of 36,027 people were evacuated to 39 evacuation centers (Inside Marikina, 2014). The water level eventually subsided the next day, 20 September 2014, to 15.5 meters as of 1:26 PM, which still meant that residents should stay alert regarding the water level (Rappler, 2014).
The city’s experience with Ondoy and previous Habagat floods drove Marikina to develop a local early warning system for monitoring the Marikina River water level. With a population of 424,150, Marikina City has been able to mitigate the effects of flooding from the river. The city has become adept at evacuation measures, and along with other disaster preparedness protocols, hopes to continually produce zero-casualty results as it did during the numerous floods caused by monsoon rains in 2014.
Calonzo, A. (2012). Southwest monsoon brings more rains than Ondoy. GMA News Online.
Esmaquel, P. (2014). Metro Manila warned vs monsoon rains August 5-8. Rappler.
Inside Marikina. (2014). Marikina survives Tropical Storm Mario.
Rappler (a). (2014). #HabagatPH: Marikina River alarm raised to level 1. Rappler.com.
Rappler (b). (2014). Marikina water level now on 3rd alarm. Rappler.com.
Rappler (c). (2014). Forced evacuation as Marikina River water rises. Rappler.com.
Rappler (d). (2014). Water level in Marikina River goes down. Rappler.com.
Tenedero, E. (2014). ‘Mario’ at Habagat vs ‘Ondoy’: Kaninong ulan ang mas malakas?. DZMM.