Bagyong Pablo among most destructive, powerful typhoons in Philippine history

Typhoon Pablo hammered large swaths of Mindanao, Visayas and Northern Palawan and left a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

And even as Pablo’s final toll is still being counted—over 800 people remain missing— PAGASA said that the typhoon has already set four records in terms of strength.

1. Strongest to make landfall in 2012

For 2012, at least, it is the strongest to make landfall in the Philippines at 185 kph.

Other cyclones that made landfall in the Philippines this year were Typhoon Helen in August with peak intensity of 120 kph and Typhoon Ofel in October at 155 kph.

2. Strongest since Super Typhoon Juan in 2010

In a presentation, PAGASA Director Dr. Nathaniel Servando said that Pablo is also the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines since Super Typhoon Juan in 2010.

Super Typhoon Juan (Megi) was packing winds of 225 kph before it made landfall in Northern Sierra Madre on Oct. 17, 2010.

Public Storm Warning Signal Number 4 was hoisted over Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Mt. Province, and Ifugao.

By Oct. 20, Juan had left 11 people dead and 16 injured, with over P1 billion in losses from damaged crops and property.

Juan is also included in PAGASA’s list of most disastrous tropical cyclones from 1970 to 2010.

3. Strongest typhoon to cross Mindanao since Typhoon Nitang in 1984

PAGASA records show that Typhoon Nitang (Ike), with winds of around 230 kph, ravaged parts of Visayas and Mindanao, including Siargao Island, Cebu, Negros, and Surigao del Norte from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 1984, leaving 1,492 dead, with an estimated damage to crops and property of P4.1 billion.

4. Strongest typhoon crossing Davao provinces since Typhoon Titang in 1970

The National Disaster Coordinating Council at the time recorded Typhoon Titang (Kate) to be packing sustained winds of around 240 kph.

Hitting mainly Western Visayas and parts of Mindanao, Titang left 631 casualties, 76 people injured, and around P305 million in damage to crops and property.

Not the last for Mindanao

According to the state weather bureau PAGASA during a climate forum, Pablo might not be the last disaster to hit Mindanao.

“Nangyari na ito before. I-expect na natin na mangyayari ulit ito,” Servando told GMA News Online.

Servando added that while the frequency of cyclones hitting Mindanao has been low, from the recorded years starting 1948 to 2010 (Surigao experiences one tropical cyclone every two years, Davao Oriental one every two decades, and Davao City one every 60 years, according to PAGASA), having large and deadly storms battering southern Philippines two years in a row might indicate a change in the trends.

Multiple landfalls

Like Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) in 2009, Pablo made landfall thrice in the Philippines.

It first made landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental on Dec. 4 at around 4:45 a.m.

At 5:30 p.m. the same day, it made landfall again south of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, losing practically none of its strength.

The following day, at 8:00 a.m., it made landfall again in Roxas town in Palawan.

Servando said that while Pablo is not the first to have multiple landfalls, it is quite unusual because it sustained its strength almost the whole time, unlike the cyclones that hit Luzon.

“Sa Luzon, pag tumama sa Sierra Madre, humihina ang mga bagyo. Itong si Pablo, hindi naman siya dumaan kung saan ‘yung mabundok na bahagi ng Mindanao kaya di siya naapektuhan,” Servando said.

“At yung speed niya, 24 to 26 kph, mabilis iyon,” he added.

‘Extremely rare’

Servando also noted that meteorologists consider ‘Pablo’ an “extremely rare weather event.”

“A strong typhoon moving very close to the equator is a rare phenomenon,” Servando mentioned in his presentation.

The state weather bureau director also said that Pablo’s unusual strength may be due to the impact of climate change.

Because of climate change, Filipinos should expect more intensified weather disturbances like Pablo, he said.

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