Leyte warned of storm surges

Floods caused by tides will reach 17 feet high in Ormoc, Leyte on Friday afternoon


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As of 1:00 pm Friday, November 8, Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) updated its list of areas in the Philippines that may experience storm surges due to Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan).

These surges – which are floods caused by tides due to a tropical cyclone – are projected to go over 5 meters (16.5 feet).  

A total of 68 localities were earlier asked to brace for storm surges, which are expected to occur from November 8 to November 9.

Storm surges form when high-speed winds brush up against the ocean surface, causing water to pile up higher than the normal sea level.

Based on data available at 1:00 pm, Ormoc, Leyte will experience the highest storm surge at 2:00 pm. It is expected to receive a 5.2-meter or 17-foot storm surge around this time. 

The next highest storm surges will occur earlier at around 1:20 pm, measuring 3.6 m (11.8 feet) in Palompon, Leyte, and 3.4 meters (11.1 feet) in Tuburan, Cebu.

For coastal communities, a storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property caused by a hurricane. Aside from inundating buildings and infrastructure, it causes battering waves to pummel against structures and eventually destroy them.

Currents created by the surge can also severely erode beaches and highways along the coast. Buildings that survive the onslaught suffer from weakened foundations due to this erosion.

Below is a list of the localities with the top 10 highest storm surges as of 1:00 pm:

ProvinceLocationStorm tideDate and time of peak height
Leyte Ormoc 5.2 m Nov 8, 2:00pm
Leyte Palompon 3.6 m Nov 8, 1:20pm
Cebu Tuburan 3.4 m Nov 8, 1:20pm
Negros Occ. Himugaan River Entr 3.4 m Nov 8, 3:10pm
Masbate Bogo Bay 3.2 m Nov 8, 1:50pm
Masbate Masbate 3.1 m Nov 8, 2:20pm
Negros Occidental 3 m Nov 8, 2:20pm
Quezon Lamon Bay: Sangirin Bay 2.8 m Nov 8, 9:50pm
Negros Occ. Carcar Bay 2.7 m Nov 8, 3:30pm
Negros Occ. Danao River Entr 2.7 m Nov 8, 3:30pm

See the full list here.

Aside from having to deal with more than 5-feet high storm surges, they will also have to prepare for winds of more than 185 km/h within the next 12 hours. Such strong winds can uproot large trees and severely damage buildings.

The threat of a storm surge will aggravate flooding expected in many of the areas. In Eastern Visayas, 45% of cities and municipalities are highly vulnerable to flooding, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Those at the bottom of the list will still experience storm surges above 3 feet in height. 

Yolanda, a dangerous super typhoon, is said to be the strongest storm this year. With maximum sustained winds of 225 km/h, it made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, at 5 am on Friday, November 8. – Rappler.com

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