Widespread flooding during ‘Ulysses’ onslaught triggers memories of 2009’s ‘Ondoy’

November 12, 2020 - 2:30 PM
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Typhoon Ulysses rescuers
Residents affected by floods from Typhoon Vamco are rescued on a boat, at Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 12, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Tragic memories of Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name “Ketsana”) in 2009 flashed back to some Filipinos as Typhoon Ulysses triggered severe flooding in Metro Manila and other neighboring regions overnight.

“Ulysses,” the 21st tropical cyclone that has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility this year, induced heavy rains and triggered flash floods especially across the National Capital Region on Wednesday evening to Thursday morning.

Reports note that the typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometer per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph. It made landfall three times starting on Wednesday evening in Quezon Province, south of the capital Manila.

Its strong rains and howling winds left Filipinos in the metro, as well as in neighboring regions such as CALABARZON and Central Luzon, at the mercy of the tropical cyclone that maintained its “typhoon” status even after crossing Sierra Madre’s mountain ranges.

RELATED: LIVE updates: Typhoon Ulysses

Ulysses’ threat also prompted state weather bureau PAGASA to warn Filipinos of possible flooding Thursday morning following the expected rise of water levels in major dams as an effect of the heavy rainfall.

Because of the heavy downpour, Marikina River‘s water level breached its 21.5 meters record during “Ondoy,” considered the second most-devastating tropical cyclone in the Pacific in 2009.

The river’s water level is at 21.8 meters with third alarm raised, as of 9:04 a.m. Thursday.

It rose to 22.0 meters at 11 a.m, but decreased to 21.9 meters by 11:38 a.m.

As of 12:08 p.m., its level was recorded to be 21.8 meters deep, based on Marikina’s Public Information Office page.

RELATED: Marikina mayor: Air rescue needed as ‘Ulysses’ flood thousands of homes

The heavy downpour of Ulysses also triggered memories of “Ondoy” as Filipinos shared pictures and videos of flooded areas.

Ondoy survivors recalled how they have seen similar views as the tropical storm battered Metro Manila and its neighboring regions 11 years ago. They likewise shared how they weathered through that storm.

A Twitter user also recounted walking along the Marcos Bridge when Ondoy struck the metro as a video of its situation following “Ulysses'” onslaught surfaced online.

“We’ve never seen this #UlyssesPH coming since Ondoy,” another Twitter user wrote on Thursday morning.

Just like the Ondoy situation, several residents also called for help to be rescued following chest-deep flooding in most villages. They sought for help through the hashtag #RescuePH.

The wrath of Ondoy 

Ondoy battered parts of Luzon in September 2009 as a tropical storm, which is two levels lower than “Ulysses'” category when it wreaked havoc on the country’s biggest island.

The storm unleashed one month’s worth of rain over Metro Manila and its neighboring regions within 24 hours and left over 600,000 people affected. It also took the lives of more than 700 individuals.

An article published on The Asia Foundation notes that “Ondoy” dumped 17.9 inches of rain in the capital region within that period, which was “more than three times the record amount (4.81 inches) of rainfall in a day in Washington, D.C.”

report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said that the tropical storm caused “caused widespread floodings in almost all parts of Metro Manila, Central and Southern Luzon, and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao.”

“Ondoy,” despite being considered a weak tropical cyclone, generated historical flooding since its effects were combined by the enhanced southwest monsoon at that time.