The water level in Laguna de Bay is set to break its 90-year record, threatening to submerge more areas in Metro Manila and several nearby provinces in flood waters, a government official said Thursday. Edgar Manda, head of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), said that as of Thursday night, the lake is almost 14 meters deep - half a meter away from the bay’s highest recorded level of 14.5 meters measured in 1919.
He said the water level in the bay could further rise once typhoon "Pepeng" makes landfall on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The LLDA chief said tropical storm “Ondoy" (international name: Ketsana), which pummeled Metro Manila and nearby provinces last Saturday, contributed to the “anomalous" rise in the bay’s water level.
He said the increase should not have taken place for at least 10 years.
“Anomalous dahil dapat umabot pa ito ng 10 years. Nag-accelerate because of climate change at aggravated ni ‘Ondoy’," he said.
“Ondoy" brought 341 millimeters of rainfall in the country in a span of six hours last Saturday and flooded huge portions of Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon).
Manda said residents living near Laguna de Bay, especially those affected by the floods caused by “Ondoy," are advised to relocate immediately.
“Delikado ito in a sense that those living around 12.5 meter elevation and the next layer, papasukin na sila," he said.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said “Pepeng" had gained strength and is now packing maximum winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 230 kph.
The typhoon, carrying what Pagasa called "disastrous" winds, was spotted 440 kilometers (km) east of Catarman, Northern Samar and was forecast to move west northwest at 24 kph.
Heavy rains are expected in the Bicol Region and Eastern Luzon starting Thursday night, according to Pagasa chief Nathaniel Cruz. - GMANews.TV.