According to officials on Wednesday, October 21, Tropical Storm Saudel caused 6000 residents in Manila to evacuate as well as significant flooding throughout Quezon province as it passed through the region on Tuesday night. The storm system, which is otherwise referred to as Pepito by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA), led to particularly heavy rainfall over the regions, with images showing boats being used to ferry residents to dry ground in Manilla. The flooding has also led to the closure of several main roads in the province, further hampering rescue efforts.
The storm is currently tracking westward in the South China Sea, and as of 1400 (Local time) on Wednesday, the system's center of circulation was approximately 322km (200mi) northwest of Manila. Forecasts currently show that Saudel is expected to reach Vietnam, where days of heavy rains and flooding have already killed at least 111 people, with 22 still missing, on Saturday, October 24.
Strong winds and heavy rainfall could result in flooding, landslides, and disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities as the storm system passes.
Tropical depressions, storms, and typhoons typically hit Eastern Visayas as well as Southern, Central, and Northern Luzon during the typhoon season between June and November. However, a number of storm systems in the past years have also affected Central and Western Visayas, as well as eastern, northern, central, and western Mindanao, and have reached the country outside the typhoon season. Local meteorologists attribute these changes to climate change. In general, approximately 19 storms and typhoons enter the country's area of responsibility every year, and PAGASA say that at least six weather systems make a direct landfall.
These storm systems have the potential to unleash heavy downpours and powerful winds, as well as trigger a major storm surge that pose considerable hazards to human life and infrastructure. Despite a credible risk, the Philippines has inadequate preparedness and crisis response that increases the impact of storm systems on human communities, strategic infrastructure as well as on travel and service delivery.
Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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