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Other Philippine Super Typhoons

November 11, 2013
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By Paul Homewood

 

From the Typhoon2000.com website in the Philippines, a bit of history on two of the worst super typhoons that ravaged the country in the past.

 

Super Typhoon “REMING” (Durian)
November 26-December 1, 2006
Gusts up to 320 kph
734 deaths (unofficial estimate up to 1,200)
PhP 5.086B damage

Core (Eye & Eyewall) Track: Southmost tip of Virac Point, Catanduanes; Tabaco and Tiwi in Albay; Mt. Iriga, Iriga City, Baao, Bula and Pasacao in Camarines Sur; (Bondoc Peninsula) Pugos Pt., San Narciso and Mulanay, Quezon; Sta. Cruz and Boac, Marinduque; Calapan City, Baco and San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro; Binarera Point between Paluan and Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.

This usual looking typhoon forming in the Pacific slowly during the 28th of November would become the country’s worst typhoon since records have been written.

Two days since its birth in the Philippine Sea near the south of the Marianas REMING intensified into a typhoon of minimal strength. But in less than 24 hours it strengthened to an even large, solid rotating mass of pure fury.

By the early hours of November 29 this angry typhoon reached deadly gusts of 240 – 260 kph as it roared towards Northern Samar and Catanduanes. REMING, fueled by the warm Philippine Sea along the Bicol Region, increased to winds of unimaginable strength and spraying heavy rain as far as Northern Visayas up to the rest of Luzon. In just a few hours the powerful howler neared Catanduanes inflicting damage on coastal towns of Northern Samar and Sorsogon due to raging sea waves. Not long, by noontime REMING’s gusts went past 280 kph and ticking towards 300 kph!

REMING churned Lagonoy Gulf and headed for Camarines Sur but along its wake ferocious winds left almost nothing of Rapu-Rapu and Batan islands, stripped-off the forests of Catanduanes, destroying 80% of all its houses and buildings, and ramming ships and tankers aground. The anemometer at PAGASA’s weather station at Virac conked out after registering a 320 kph gust. It was the signature of the country’s most powerful typhoon in history.

Legazpi City and the rest of Albay which was under its intense Southern Eyewall, bore the brunt of the typhoon as large buildings lost their roofs while concrete and steel structures crumpled and bowed down everywhere. REMING came ashore the town of Tiwi in Albay. Everywhere, houses were literally blown off to pieces and then, the abrupt calm of the passing eye. But above Mayon Volcano, torrential rains continued and the saturated volcanic debris finally gave way. With the howling winds full of deadly debris, the raging lahars that thundered down the volcano’s slopes gave people no time, or choice to escape. Those who clambered above their roofs as mudflows raged on were killed or critically injured by the flying debris. It left most of Albay and southern Catanduanes helpless and dying.

Devastation spread across Camarines Sur as REMING quickly moved west. Naga City which was under the Northern Eyewall, was battered heavily by the winds with some low-lying areas under partial floodwaters. Large trucks were flipped and buildings never escaped damage. Crossing Ragay Gulf, the howler destroyed poverty-stricken fishing towns of Southern Quezon and then on to flatten more houses and vegetation at Marinduque. The weakening typhoon ravaged southern shores of Batangas and destroyed more of northern Mindoro after hitting Calapan City. REMING then exited towards the South China Sea by dawn of December 1.

With power and communication lines down, it took a day for Filipinos to see the full-picture of REMING’s aftermath. Aerial surveys of Camarines Sur, Albay and Catanduanes showed complete devastation. Schools, government structures, hospitals, banks and many important buildings were destroyed. At the foot of Mayon Volcano, whole families, villages and barangays were buried in volcanic debris giving up most of the fatalities. Officials estimated 1,200 dead and missing reminding them of Mayon’s famous 1814 eruption.

The missing surpassed the official death toll and was presumed to be dead beneath tons of mud and rocks.

  

  

Super Typhoon “SENING” (Joan)
October 11-15, 1970
275 kph
768 deaths
PhP 1.89B damage

Core (Eye & Eyewall) Track: Virac Point, Catanduanes; Sagñay and Naga City in Camarines Sur; inner portion of Ragay Gulf, Calauag, Lopez Bay coastline, Atimonan and Lucban in Quezon; towns at the southern and southwestern shore of Laguna Lake in Laguna; Cavite; southern outskirts of National Capital Region; Mariveles and Lima in Bataan.

SENING held the record as strongest typhoon in the Philippines for 36 years (1970-2006) clocking 275 kph. She heralded the famous 1970 "triplet" super typhoons that came one after each other in a span of days and weeks only, devastating populated areas of the country.

SENING was a horrifying typhoon swirling towards Samar and Leyte by the evening of October 11. As Samar and the rest of the Visayas were bracing for the typhoon by the early afternoon of October 12, SENING started moving northwesterly sparing the Visayas and now threatening the Catanduanes and the Bicol peninsula. By the morning of the next day, Bicol was already feeling SENING’s fury as it seemed to target Virac. Before lunchtime, SENING grazed Virac and Catanduanes’ southern coast unleashing severe damage. It then moved at Lagonoy Gulf, churning the sea into a violent monster that ravaged the shorelines of Albay and Camarines Sur. By early afternoon, around 1:30pm, Oct 13, SENING’s eye bore down directly over Naga City that momentarily gave its citizens its awesome calmness. A little over a few minutes later the calm of the eye started to end as the eastern eyewall of the howler came closing in destroying countless homes, infrastructures, electric posts and thousands of trees. Naga was the first and largest city SENING wrecked in its course. Scores died from flying debris, collapsing homes, falling trees and electric posts, and floods.

By evening the howler crossed Ragay Gulf and went on to destroy southern Quezon killing more and injuring thousands until midnight. SENING went on to ravage Laguna, Cavite and the rest of the National Capital Region by dawn of October 14 inflicting major damage to major urban residential, industrial and commercial centers of the metro. Large neon signs and billboards in the metropolitan were twisted, broken and totally destroyed scattering hazardous debris in the streets downtown. It then crossed Manila Bay from Cavite’s capital to unleash fury to southern Bataan and then to South China Sea by the afternoon of the same day.

 

 

The above gust speeds are as recorded on land by PAGASA, and not satellite or airplane based. It is worth bearing in mind that Yolanda recorded gusts up to 275 kph, the same as Sening, and much less than Reming.

These and many other typhoons are a reminder of just how much the Philippines suffer from such natural disasters. Would it not make more sense taking some of the trillions wasted on a non existent problem, and spending it on helping them to protect themselves better.

2 Comments
  1. Jose Gurrobat de Leon permalink
    July 9, 2014 7:26 am

    Yes I experienced the powerful brunt of typhoon “Sening” …

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