Saturday, May 19, 2012
Cebu town rained with ‘ice’
SOME 86 houses were destroyed, trees fell and residents were hurt after whirling winds and ice-like particles, slightly bigger than marbles, hit Barangays Lamac and Punod, Pinamungajan town, midwest of Cebu Province yesterday noon. One woman was rushed to a hospital in Cebu City after she was pinned to the ground by a fallen tree. Barangays Lamac and Punod are about 14 kilometers from the poblacion of the town in Cebu’s third district. Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), who sent staff members to the area, said that based on the report he received, the two barangays were hit by a “buhawi” or whirlwind and hail stones. He instructed his staff to assess the damage and see how his office could help. In a phone interview, Pinamungajan Mayor Geraldine Yapha told Sun.Star Cebu that the disturbance hit the houses alternately, damaging the structures. Yapha said that while the ice-like drops and the strong winds would hit a house and damage it, these would leave the next house intact. Yapha said that it was very hot and sunny yesterday morning, but at 11:30 a.m. dark clouds mantled the sky. She quoted residents who saw that thunder struck and a series of lighting bolted the sky. These were followed by strong winds, and ice-like particles fell from the sky. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the hailstorm in Pinamungahan did not register on their radar. Alice Canasa, a Pagasa weather specialist, told Sun.Star in a separate interview, that a hailstorm occurs when the clouds in the area are too low. She said that these come in a form of hail stones when there are cumulonimbus clouds or a mix of cumulus and nimbus clouds. “Rain drops are crystal forms of water and because the clouds are too near the ground, wala na mahilis ang raindrops, so they remain solid when they hit the ground,” Canasa said. A hail or a hail storm is a form of solid precipitation. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is referred to as a hail stone. A hail is possible within most thunderstorms as it is produced by cumulonimbi (thunderclouds), and within two nautical miles (3.7 km) of the parent storm. Alexander Ygay, 35, said several houses were damaged and trees were fallen everywhere. Pinamungajan town Councilor Geronimo Geronga had to bring a chainsaw to cut fallen trees that block the road. Ygay, who was sent by Provincial Board Member Alex Binghay to the area to help the residents, said some people swept the ice drops that accumulated on the road beside the school. As of 8 o’clock last night, Congressman Garcia received an initial report that 80 houses were damaged in Barangay Lamac and six houses in Barangay Punod. Ygay said residents told him the hail stones, which were slightly bigger than marbles, dropped from the sky and pierced their plastic roofs. Mayor Yapha immediately made her rounds in the community after she received the alarm. She rushed to the hospital in Cebu City a middle-aged Mercedes Bacoro who was pinned to the ground by a fallen tree. The Municipal Health Office also provided medical relief to those who were slightly injured. Among those admitted to the Pinamungajan District Hospital were Juliet Demol, 23. Reports were not clear as to what hit Demol. Charmel Balutag, 10, was wounded on her left cheek. Daniel Wenceslao, 24, hurt his toe in the left foot. The mayor also asked Lamac Barangay Captain Flor Cantero to see what other assistance the town could provide. Yapha said affected residents are now staying in the houses of their neighbors and in the barangay hall. Pinamungajan is a third class municipality southwest of Cebu City. It has 26 barangays.