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Downpour, floods stall traffic

Heavy downpour brought floods and traffic logjams on major thoroughfares in the metropolis even after Tropical Storm ''Karding'' left the Philippines on Saturday, the Metro Manila Development Authority said.

UNCOMPASSIONATE WEATHER. A piteous sight of vehicles along the main highway Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, their headlights on at daytime Saturday with visibility near zero. Norman Cruz
At the same time, weathermen raised high alert rainfall warning over Metro Manila and the nearby province of Rizal due to what they called the southwest monsoon while monitoring a tropical depression 1,030 kms west of extreme Northern Luzon, with maximum winds of 55 kph and gusts of up to 75 kph.

Motorists and commuters also experienced traffic jam along major streets in the capital, declared as “not passable to light vehicles” where nearly 13 million of the 106 million population of the country live. 

These include the area of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue near the Balintawak station of Light Railway Transit, Edsa-Quezon Avenue Service Road near Centris Commercial Center, and Quezon Avenue - Biak na Bato, all in Quezon City; and Espana Boulevard near Maceda Street and Blumentritt Street, and Rizal Avenue near R. Papa Street in Manila.

Also declared “not passable to all types of vehicles” due to knee-deep floods are the areas of Araneta Avenue near Talayan and Victory Avenue; and E. Rodriguez Avenue. 

MMDA chief information officer Sharon Gentalian said gutter-deep floods also caused the slow movement of vehicles along Commonwealth Avenue near the areas of Tandang Sora, Masaya Street and Mindanao Avenue, and Elliptical Road corner East Avenue, all in Quezon City, and Quirino Avenue in the areas of Plaza Dilao, and Pedro Gil and Guazon Streets in Manila.

The MMDA recently came up with a list of flood-prone areas in the National Capital Region that the public should avoid, especially during rush hours and heavy downpour.

With about 20 tropical cyclones entering the country every year, the MMDA also reminded the public to heed warnings and take all precautions to protect health and ensure safety during a bad weather condition.

Among the MMDA-identified flood-prone areas in the metropolis are Rizal Avenue corner Ricardo Papa, Sampaloc and its immediate vicinity, and Quiapo and its immediate vicinity, all in the City of Manila; 

Makati Diversion Channel, South Superhighway, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue and its vicinity, all in Makati City; Maysilo Circle—Boni Avenue and its vicinity, Kalentong Street, New Panaderos Street, Shaw Boulevard and Acacia Lane, all in Mandaluyong City; 

Barangay Doña Imelda, Damayan Lagi, Tatalon and Talayan, all in Quezon City, and the Ninoy Aquino Avenue and its vicinity in Parañaque City.

During heavy rains, the agency advised the people to: Stay indoors and keep calm; Monitor TV and radio reports; Keep roads clear for emergency vehicles; Go to the nearest designated evacuation center if your house is in a flood-prone area; Have a flashlight and radio handy, with fresh batteries; and stock up on food, potable water, kerosene, batteries, and first-aid supplies.

“In case of flooding, turn off the main sources of electricity, gas and water in your home. Stack furniture above the expected flood level and keep appliances, valuables, chemicals, toxic substances, and garbage beyond the reach of floodwaters,” the MMDA said.

Government officials said the massive floods in Metro Manila caused by the garbage problem and clogged waterways. 

They attributed the clog problem to residents and informal settlers living along and near the creek.

Weathermen, meanwhile, raised the yellow rainfall warning over Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan and northern Quezon where flooding was expected in low-lying areas.

Weathermen, at the same time, projected light to moderate with occasional heavy rains affecting Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas and the rest of Quezon during the weekend.

In Metro Manila,  the Marikina River water level as at Saturday had hit the 16-meter mark, prompting the Marikina City government to raise the alarm level to 2 at past 2 p.m.

Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro told Super Radyo dzBB that due to the sudden downpour at about past 2 p.m. Saturday, the water level rose to 16 meters above sea level from 15.5 meters at 1 p.m.

As is the city’s practice, the local government would take the following action every time the river’s water level rises:

Alarm Level 1 -when water level reaches 15 meters (Warning)

Alarm Level 2 - when water level reaches 16-17 meters (Prepare)

Alarm Level 3 - when water level reaches 18 meters (Forced Evacuation).

Topics: Tropical Storm ''Karding'' , Metro Manila Development Authority , high alert rainfall , monsoon
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