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Feature: PAGASA warns public not to walk on floodwaters

by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob

Cagayan de Oro City (5 October) -- Six (6) inches of fast moving waters can knock you off your feet and running waters, two (2) feet deep can cause most motor vehicles to float!

This warning comes from Ricardo A. Mercado, Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), region 10, who said people who walk or drive through flood waters are always at risk from flashfloods.

"Flashfloods and floods are the number one cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms, a local storm produced by a cumulonimbus cloud, always accompanied by lightning and thunder, usually with strong gust of wind, heavy rain and sometimes hail," he said.

Usually of short duration, seldom over two (2) hours for any one (1) storm, thunderstorms has little, if any, rain during its development stage as a towering cumulus cloud indicates rising air that lasts for about 10 minutes with occasional lightning.

During the dissipating stage of the thunderstorm, however, the rainfall decreases in intensify but can still produce a burst of strong winds and lightning posing a danger to anyone, hence, it is best to observe the following safety rules:

Avoid walking, swimming or driving in flood waters and stay away from high water, slow drains, ditches, ravines or culverts. If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around and go another way or climb to higher grounds and do not let the children play near storm drains.

Similarly, monitor the latest PAGASA Bulletin/updates every 6 hrs. and be informed of the "must do" things when the following warnings of the occurrence of weather disturbances are issued:

Public Storm Signal No. 1 A tropical cyclone may threaten or affect the locality. Winds of not more than 60 kilometers per hour (KPH) may be expected in at least 36 hours. Prepare flashlights, batteries, matches, kerosene lamps or candles and charcoal in anticipation of power failure.

Public Storm Signal No. 2 - A moderate tropical cyclone is coming. Winds of 61-100 kph may be expected in at least 24 hours. Store adequate supply of food and waster in covered containers as water supply may be cut off. Children are advised to stay indoors.

Public Storm Signal No. 3 A strong tropical cyclone will affect the locality. Winds of 101-185 kph may be expected in at least 18 hrs. If the house is not strong enough to withstand the battering of winds, go to the designated evacuation center and seek shelter in stronger houses. Stay in safe houses until the disturbance has left the area.

Public Storm Signal No. 4 Very strong typhoon with winds of more than 185 kph may be expected in at least 12 hours. People should stay in safe houses or evacuation centers. (PIA 10) [top]

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