‘Karding’ blasts through Luzon

Typhoon hits landfall twice, crossing overnight with winds of 195kph

Super Typhoon “Karding” was on its way out of the Philippines on Monday morning after its “explosive intensification” on Sunday gave way to its weakening to typhoon level as it crossed and exited the Luzon landmass overnight, the state weather bureau said.

IN KARDING’S PATH. A police vehicle lies broken after a tree fell on it Sunday, hours after Super Typhoon “Karding” hit the island town of Jomalig in Quezon province. Jomalig PNP

Karding (international name: Noru) was packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 195 kilometers an hour after showing an unprecedented build-up in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.

But once it made landfall—first at Burdeos town in Quezon province at 5:30 p.m. and then at Dingalan, Aurora at 8:30 p.m. — the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Karding was projected to weaken to 130 kph as it headed west-northwest at 20 kmh.

At press time, the state weather bureau said Karding would be over the coastal waters of Masinloc, Zambales by 5 a.m. Monday and 360km west of Dagupan City, Pangasinan in the afternoon.

Filipinos, however, still had to brace for the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, as it dumped heavy rain and raised floodwaters across Luzon and in Metro Manila.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 5 remained hoisted in several areas on Sunday night, including portions of Quezon, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Rizal, while the rest of Luzon including the National Capital Region was under Signal No. 3.

“We ask residents living in danger zones to adhere to calls for evacuation whenever necessary,” Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Sunday announced that 97 families or 336 persons have been preemptively evacuated in Regions 2 (Cagayan Valley) and 3 (Central Luzon) as of posting time.

The storm forced 80 percent of the town’s residents to evacuate. Meanwhile, floodwaters rose to 16 meters at the Marikina River and was seen to swell even more with overnight rainfall.

During Sunday’s NDRRMC emergency operations center briefing, PAGASA warned the amount of rainfall can be similar to “Ondoy” in September 2009 and “Ulysses” in November 2020.

The Philippines is regularly ravaged by storms, with scientists warning they are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer because of climate change.

Weather forecaster Robb Gile said Karding’s rapid intensification as it neared land was unprecedented. The meteorology agency said its wind speeds had increased by 90 kilometers per hour in 24 hours.

“Typhoons are like engines—you need fuel and an exhaust to function,” said Gile.

“In the case of Karding, it has good fuel because it has plenty of warm water along its track and then there is a good exhaust in the upper level of the atmosphere — so it’s a good recipe for explosive intensification,” he said.

In Manila, emergency personnel braced for the possibility of strong winds and heavy rain battering the city of more than 13 million people.

Forced evacuations have started in some “high risk” areas of the capital, officials said.

“NCR is prepared. We are just waiting and hoping it will not hit us,” said Romulo Cabantac, regional director for the civil defense office, referring to the National Capital Region.

Karding comes nine months after another super typhoon devastated swathes of the country, killing more than 400 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Residents in several municipalities in Quezon province, where this latest storm could make a direct hit, were being evacuated from their homes, said Mel Avenilla from the provincial disaster office.

In the neighboring province of Aurora, residents of Dingalan municipality were being forced to seek shelter.

Karding’s path. TV5 screengrab

“People living near the coast have been told to evacuate. We live away from the coast so we’re staying put so far. We’re more worried about the water from the mountains,” said Rhea Tan, 54, a restaurant manager in Dingalan.

Tan said residents were securing the roofs of their houses and boats were being taken to higher ground while the weather was still calm.

“We’re even more anxious if the weather is very calm, because that’s the usual indicator of a strong typhoon before it hits land,” Tan added.

Karding could have wind speeds of up to 205 kilometers per hour when it makes landfall, the weather bureau said.

It is expected to weaken to a typhoon as it sweeps across central Luzon, before entering the South China Sea on Monday and heading towards Vietnam.

The weather bureau has warned of dangerous storm surges, widespread flooding, and landslides as the storm dumps heavy rain.

It could topple coconut and mango trees, and cause “severe losses” to rice and corn crops in the heavily agricultural region, as well as inundate villages.

The coast guard reported more than 2,000 people had been left stranded by ferry cancellations as vessels took shelter ahead of the storm.

Classes have been cancelled and non-essential government services suspended for Monday.

The Philippines — ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change — is hit by an average of 20 storms every year.

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