Each year, an average of 20 tropical cyclones visit the country. Though all of them pose a threat, a few stand out because of the lives they have claimed.
As the year comes to a close, let’s look back at some of the most fatal tropical cyclones in our recorded history.
TYPHOON TITANG (KATE)
Typhoon Titang’s strong winds and heavy rains left 631 people dead and 284 missing when it hit Western Visayas and Maguindanao in November 1970. In the same year, Pope Paul VI arrived in the Philippines. At that time, the country had just survived the then so-called “triplet typhoons”— Sening, Titang and Yoling.
TYPHOON REMING (DURIAN)
2006 was a challenging year for Bicolanos when Mayon Volcano erupted, followed by the ferocity of Typhoong Reming in November. Lahar from the volcano aggravated the floods, leaving 734 people dead and 762 others unaccounted for. Because of the disaster, the province of Albay learned the importance of adaptation.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION WINNIE
The storm struck Luzon and Visayas in November 2004. Although Winnie was under the weakest tropical cyclone classification, it brought continuous rains especially in Central Luzon. Massive flash floods and landslides were recorded in Quezon and Aurora. 893 people died while 443 others went missing.
TYPHOON NITANG (IKE)
In September 1984, Typhoon Nitang tore Central Visayas. Rains induced by the typhoon caused rivers to overflow. At least 1,029 people perished and 464 others went missing.
TYPHOON SENDONG (WASHI)
A week before Christmas 2011, Typhoon Sendong hit the northern part of Mindanao. Days prior, a report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of America said that Sendong was carrying almost the same volume of rainwater that Tropical Storm Ondoy dumped in 2009. NDRRMC said, 1,268 people were killed and 181 have yet to be found.
TYPHOON PABLO (BOPHA)
Typhoon Pablo is one of the worst typhoons to hit Mindanao. In December 2012, it caused massive floods and landslides, killing more than 1,200 people and caused 797 to go missing. The devastation prompted PAGASA to retire “Pablo” from its list of tropical cyclone names.
TROPICAL STORM URING (THELMA)
On November 5, 1991, Tropical Storm Uring ravaged Leyte– an incident which is known today as the “Ormoc Tragedy.” The storm buried the eastern and western plains of the province in water, sediments and debris. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the typhoon killed 5,101 people while 1,256 others went missing.
TYPHOON YOLANDA (HAIYAN)
Considered as one of the strongest tropical cyclones in world history, Typhoon Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, particularly the provinces of Tacloban, Leyte in November 2013. The typhoon caused heavy rains, strong winds and storm surges. It had cloud bonds of 600 kilometers in diameter and made six landfall activities in the following areas:
* Guiuan, Eastern Samar
* Tolosa, Leyte
* Daan, Bantayan Cebu
* Bantayan Island, Cebu
* Concepcion, Iloilo
* Busuanga, Palawan
The typhoon left 6,300 people dead while 1,062 others remain missing. The devastation of Yolanda paved the way for a more accurate way of weather forecasting. PAGASA began providing NDRRMC a forecast track that included five days instead of three to allow a closer monitoring of weather disturbances The weather bureau now holds press conferences to disseminate information faster. A year after Yolanda, PAGASA officially added Storm Signal no. 5 and Super Typhoon (STY) to its warnings and categories for tropical cyclones.
*Figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council