MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 16 Oct) – A whirlwind in Valencia City Tuesday totally destroyed three houses and caused a 21-hour long brownout in parts of Bukidnon.
The Valencia City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also reported that 31 houses were partially damaged by the whirlwind affecting 33 families.
The CDRRMC report, signed by Mayor Azucena Huervas, blamed “very strong winds” for causing the collapse of trees, some of which landed along the highway, and the destruction of houses in Barangays Dabongdabong and Mailag along the Sayre Highway.
Most of those affected, 25 of the 33 families, are from Purok 8 in Mailag. Damage to houses were estimated at P178,500. No one was reported hurt from among the 156 persons affected in the CDRRMC account.
The CDRRMC, quoting the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the incident was caused by a “local thunderstorm.”
Stronger whirlwinds are referred to as tornado.
Elizabeth Ladaga, corporate communications officer of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, said in an advisory Wednesday that the incident toppled two NGCP transmission structures in the area. Power transmission tripped along the Maramag-Malaybalay 69-kilovolt lines at 3:07p.m. on Tuesday, causing a total of 21 hours of power interruption in Malaybalay City and other towns served by the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (BUSECO). Areas covered by First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO) were also affected but was restored at 5:05 p.m. on the same day.
Ladaga initially reported that linemen had difficulty doing repairs as they were prevented by flood waters in the Colonia to Mailag area of Valencia City.
Some areas in Bukidnon – including the barangays along the Pulangui River in Valencia – are prone to tornadoes, the PAGASA reported. Anianita Fortich, who used to be the meteorological officer of PAGASA-Bukidnon, said that the whirlwinds recorded in the area were not too strong.
She said tornadoes usually develop in areas with rivers, mountains, and plains. She warned that those who dwell in houses built with light materials and those who live along river banks are most vulnerable.
Fortich, who is now with the regional office of the weather bureau, said that climate change is yet another factor that affect wind movements.
Ma. Leah Barquez, of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council office, said they received no reports from other towns about similar incidents in their areas.