Sendong

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"Sendong" among deadliest cyclones
to enter Philippines in 12 years

I.Introduction

Severe Tropical Storm Washi (international designation: 1121, JTWC designation: 27W, PAGASA name: Sendong) was a late-season tropical cyclone that caused catastrophic damage in the Philippines in late 2011. Washi, which means Aquila in Japanese, made landfall over Mindanao, a major island in the Philippines, on December 16, 2011. Washi weakened slightly after passing Mindanao, but regained strength in the Sulu Sea, and made landfall again over Palawan on December 17.

Tropical storm Sendong is shaping up to be one of the deadliest cyclones to hit the Philippines in the last 12 years.Catastrophic flash flooding triggered by Sendong resulted in at least 1,268 fatalities. In post-analysis, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded Washi from a tropical storm to a severe tropical storm.

On December 12, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted that a developing area of low pressure had persisted about 945 km (585 mi) south-southeast of Guam. Further development over the following day prompted the JTWC to issue a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert early on December 13. Less than six hours later, both the JTWC and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) classified the system as a tropical depression, with the former assigning the identifier 27W. Maintaining a westward track, the depression was forecast to intensify slowly over the following three days.

Early on December 15, the system crossed west of 135°E and entered the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration's (PAGASA) area of responsibility. Upon doing so, PAGASA began issuing advisories and assigned the cyclone with the local name Sendong.

Shortly thereafter, the storm passed close to or over Palau. Maintaining a rapid westward track, Washi slowly became more organized, with low-level inflow improving during the latter part of December 15. On December 16, Washi reached its peak strength as a severe tropical storm and made its first landfall along the east coast of Mindanao. After passing Mindanao, Washi weakened due to land interaction, but the storm quickly regained its strength, in the Sulu Sea. Late on December 17, Washi crossed Palawan and arrived in the South China Sea, and the system moved out of the PAR on December 18. Washi weakened to a tropical depression and dissipated on December 19, because of cool, dry air, in association with the Northeast Monsoon. Disaster

Severe Tropical Storm Washi brought 10 hours of torrential rains that triggered disastrous flash flooding over Mindanao, an area that rarely experiences tropical cyclones. More than 200 mm (7.9 in) of rain was reported in places where rivers were already swollen. During the overnight hours, hundreds of people were killed as flood waters and landslides destroyed homes along mountain sides. In some locations, flood waters rose by 3.3 m (11 ft) in less than an hour. Residents impacted by these flood waters were forced to seek refuge on their roofs amidst 90 km/h (55 mph) winds. The mayor of Iligan regarded the floods as the worst in the city's history. More than 2,000 people were rescued from the hardest hit areas. Damage was estimated at ₱ 2.068 billion (2012 Php, $48.4 million USD). Over half of the damage was due to damaged roads and bridges.

Immediate Response

A massive relief operation involving the evacuation of 100,000 people occurred on the morning of December 17, 2011. Approximately 20,000 soldiers were mobilized to assist in recovery efforts and evacuations. The Philippine Coast Guard was dispatched to search for missing people after villages were reported to have been swept out to sea. Sixty people were rescued off the coast of El Salvador, Misamis Oriental and another 120 in the waters near Opol Township. President Benigno Aquino III visited Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on December 20, 2011, and declared a state of national calamity in the...
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