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The most destructive typhoons in the Philippines

By Tanya Lara Published Oct 31, 2020 12:31 am Updated Oct 31, 2020 12:58 am

Be cautious this weekend, but don’t panic.

“The chances of Typhoon Rolly becoming a super typhoon when it makes landfall are low, but chances are high that it will become one on the way to the Philippines,” DOST-PAGASA weather specialist Benison Estareja said in a 5 a.m. press briefing today.

A Super Typhoon (STY) is a tropical cyclone category that has maximum sustained winds between 119 and 220 km/hour.

Typhoon Rolly (Goni) is expected to make landfall in Quezon tomorrow, Sunday. Estareja said Typhoon Rolly was 655 km. from Virac, Catanduanes with winds of 215 kmh. early this morning. “Almost a super typhoon category but not yet as it moves westward.”

PAGASA’s tropical cyclone intensity scale

Visayas and Mindanao may expect strong winds and rains and possible flooding. Western Luzon, which includes Metro Manila, can expect sun and localized thunderstorms this afternoon.

But tonight until tomorrow, expect heavy to intense rains over Metro Manila, Bicol region, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Marinduque, and northern portions of Mindoro.

“Within the next 24 hours, Rolly will be moving west-southwest in the direction of Bicol region. By early tomorrow morning (Sunday), the typhoon’s ‘spiral band’ will cover Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Northern Samar and Camarines provinces.

“It’s still a typhoon but we are not ruling out the possibility that in the next 12 hours it will intensify into a super typhoon.”

Expect heavy rains starting tonight, Saturday.

Upon getting closer to Bicol region, sustained winds are expected to be between 185 and 215 kmh.

Within 24 hours starting in the early hours of Nov. 1 (Sunday) until Nov. 2 (Monday), the typhoon’s center will cross Bicol region in the morning and make landfall on Polilio island as well as in the rest of Northern Quezon, and then move toward Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Pangasinan and La Union.

Today, Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 2 was declared in Catanduanes, the eastern portion of Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon. “Expect 120 kmh. within the day and this may be raised to Signal No. 4.”

TCWS Signal No. 1 is over Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales and Bataan.

On Tuesday, Typhoon Rolly is expected to weaken as it starts to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

As in any other time a typhoon hits the country, get your supplies ready so you don’t have to leave your house: flashlights for power interruption, food, water, medicines. And a good book to ride out the storm this weekend.

Typhoons that left the most damage in the Philippines

Satellite image of Typhoon Haiyan, 2013

Time magazine in a 2013 story called the Philippines “the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms.”

The country is part of the Pacific typhoon season, the cycle of tropical cyclone formation in the Western Pacific ocean with most typhoons developing between May and October.

Last year’s typhoon season was the “costliest Pacific typhoon season on record, just ahead of 2018.”

Twenty-nine tropical storms and 17 typhoons were recorded in 2019, along with five unofficial super typhoons. Damage was estimated at $34.14 billion (P1.6 trillion).

In the Philippines, around 20 tropical cyclones enter our area of responsibility with June to September being the most active months.

Wikipedia lists the typhoons that have left the most damage in the country in terms of lives lost and cost.

Deadliest typhoons

  1. Haiphong, Sept. 27, 1881: 20,000 deaths
  2. Yolanda (Haiyan), Nov. 7-8, 2013: 6,300 deaths
  3. Uring (Thelma), Nov. 4-7, 1991: 5,101 deaths
  4. Pablo (Bopha), Dec. 2-9, 2012,: 1,901 deaths
  5. Angela, Sept. 22, 1867: 1,800 deaths
  6. Winnie, Nov. 27-29, 2004: 1,593 deaths
  7. October 1897 typhoon, Oct. 7, 1897: 1,500 deaths
  8. Nitang (Ike), Sept. 3-6, 1984: 1,492 deaths
  9. Frank (Fengshen): June 20-23, 2008: 1,401 deaths
  10. Reming (Durian): Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2006: 1,399 deaths

Most destructive typhoons

  1. Yolanda, 2013: P95.5 billion
  2. Pablo, 2012: P43.2 billion
  3. Glenda, 2014: P38.6 billion
  4. Ompong, 2018: P33.9 billion
  5. Pepeng, 2009: P27.3 billion
  6. Pedring, 2011: P15.6 billion
  7. Lando, 2015: P14.4 billion
  8. Frank, 2010: P12 billion
  9. Juan, 2010: 12 billion
  10. Ondoy, 2009: P11 billion

911 is the national emergency hotline; NDRRMC hotlines are (02) 84211918, (02) 89132786. Click here for other gov.ph hotlines.

Banner image from PAGASA