17 October 2015
On 10 October 2015, a tropical disturbance was spotted in the Pacific Ocean over the Enewak Atoll. It progressively increased in strength and became a Tropical Storm on October 13 and was issued the name Koppu by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The storm entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on October 14 and received the name Lando from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It was in the early hours of October 16 that Lando rapidly intensified into a typhoon. Signal Number 2 was hoisted over the province of Nueva Ecija and other areas in the northern part of the Philippines. Lando was upgraded to a Super Typhoon on 17 October, causing light rains in some areas in the vicinity of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Overall, the typhoon caused more than 11 billion in damages, most of them in the agriculture sector due to the provinces being the primary rice-growing areas in the regions. It also led to 48 casualties across Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, NCR and CAR (NDRRMC, 2015).
As a part of its responsibilities to the NDRRMC, DOST Project NOAH released a list of municipalities that will possibly receive more than 100 millimeters of rainfall within 24 hours per day for the next four days (17-20 October, Saturday-Tuesday) due to the typhoon, wherein 100 millimeters of rainfall in certain areas may cause landslide in landslide-prone locations. The municipalities of Gabaldon and Laur, with a population of 32,246 and 32,205 respectively, were both on the list (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2012). In the afternoon of October 17, several residents—mostly women and children—evacuated via advisory from the municipal administrator despite clear skies. Later in the night, Gabaldon Mayor Rolando Bue called for forced evacuation as heavy rains started to pour well until the next day, with the exception of some male heads of household and barangay officials. On October 18, Lando made landfall over Casiguran, Aurora at dawn with maximum sustained winds of up to 240 kph. Various accounts from interviews state that the debris flow events happened between 9 AM and 12 Noon that day, bringing a mixture of water, sediment, and boulders to the settlements located on alluvial fans. Eyewitnesses in Barangay Calabasa, Gabaldon and San Vicente, Laur experienced an initial flooding that transitioned to a bouldery debris flow, which caused them to panic and retreat to safe ground. Houses that were in the way of the slurry were completely washed out. Hectares of land, rice paddies, and vegetable farms were inundated and rendered uninhabitable, while a year-old bridge connecting the barangays of Bugnan and Bagong Sikat was destroyed by debris from the Sierra Madre mountain range. There were no recorded casualties in Gabaldon, Laur and Bongabon despite the widespread destruction brought by the debris flows, which had an approximate volume of 40 million cubic meters. Residents reiterate that they were lucky the debris flows happened in the morning, as they believe they would not have evacuated and acted accordingly had it happened at night. Lando lingered in Luzon until 20 October at an average speed of 5 kilometers per hour, and finally dissolved into a Low Pressure Area (LPA) north of Luzon on 21 October.
ABS-CBN News.com. (2015). Gabaldon a disaster that did not happen”, scientist says. ABS-CBN.
NDRRMC. (2015). Sitrep No. 26 re: Preparedness Measures Effects of Typhoon “LANDO” (I.N. KOPPU). http://www.ndrrmc.gov.ph/attachments/article/2607/SitRep_No_26_re_Preparedness_Measures_and_Effects_of_TY_LANDO_03NOV2015_0600H.pdf
Philippine Statistics Authority. (2012). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/attachments/hsd/pressrelease/Central%20Luzon.pdf