UPDATED as of 5:58 p.m.
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /06 April) – Tropical storm Domeng (international name: Peipah), the fourth storm to hit the country this year is also the fourth to hit Mindanao, showing a weather pattern that has changed from only six typhoons making landfall in Mindanao from 1996 to 2010 to nine typhoons in 28 months since Typhoon Sendong in December 2011.
As of 4 a.m. Sunday, Domeng was spotted at “1,020 kilometers east of General Santos City with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near center and gustiness of up to 80 kph,” the 5 a.m. weather advisory of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
The weather bureau said Domeng is forecast to move west northwest at 20 kph.
Domeng is the fourth storm to hit the country this year and the fourth to hit what used to be described as “typhoon-free Mindanao.”
Since Typhoon Sendong struck the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and parts of Bukidnon on December 16-17, 2011, eight more typhoons have struck Mindanao: super typhoon Pablo on December 4, 2012; typhoon Quinta on December 26 or just 22 days after Pablo; typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013; Zoraida on November 12, 2013; and since January 2014 — Agaton, Basyang, Caloy and now Domeng.
The Manila Observatory report on “Tropical Storm Sendong,” however, said Mindanao was never typhoon-free. It said that before Sendong, typhoons passed through Mindanao although not as frequently compared with Luzon and the Visayas.
The report noted that approximately 21 typhoons passed Mindanao in 17 years, from 1883 to 1900, that 35 typhoons made landfall in Mindanao in 65 years — from 1945 to 2010 — and that six typhoons made landfall in Mindanao in the last 15 years before Typhoon Sendong.
The Manila Observatory also pointed out that typhoons do pass through Mindanao in December and that “roughly one typhoon per 10 years crosses Mindanao in December.”
Since 2011, three typhoons have crossed Mindanao in one year – Sendong in 2011 and Pablo and Quinta in 2012. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)