The local state weather bureau explained that the floods that occurred in the southern towns of Palawan particularly in Balabac, Bataraza, and Brooke’s Point was caused by the increase of the tidal level and northeast monsoon or amihan, and the Ekman Transport principle.
Weather chief Sonny Pajarilla of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Palawan said Tuesday that the Ekman Transport wherein the wind-driven wave or the wave caused by intense wind goes towards the right direction of the wind at 45 to 90 degrees. The wind will push the water as the latter is viscous and has a compact molecule.
The wind in the Sulu area piles up at the southern part and hits northern Borneo, he added.
“Consequently, mataas ang pile ng ating tubig dito kumpara sa mahina ang ating hangin. Ang direksyon ng alon ay pakanan sa direksyon ng hangin, 45 to 90 degrees pakanan. Dahil ang prevailing winds ay amihan, dito sa Sulu maging dito sa kabila, ang direksyon ng ating alon ay pakanan. So kung ang hangin na amihan dito sa Sulu ang magdudulot ng pakanan na daloy ng tubig o alon, ibig sabihin ay direkta siyang babangga sa ating isla, may transport na tinatawag natin na Ekman transport,” Pajarilla explained.
Due to the pile-up of wind, the water level increases in southern Palawan and results in the overflowing of water on barriers which were observed in the towns of Balabac, Bataraza, and in Brooke’s Point.
“Malakas ang alon plus malakas ang agos nagpa-pile up ang level sa south dahil sa malakas na hanging amihan nagdudulot na pakanan na direksyon ng daloy ng tubig at alon,” he added.
“Bakit doon sa Brooke’s (Point), Balabac, o Bataraza, ay mataas? Ganito iyan, pagdating sa southern Sulu, imbes na tutuloy-tuloy ang daloy ng tubig-dagat mo hindi siya makatuloy, dahil nakaharang ang Malaysia, ‘yong Sabah. Dahil nandon ang Sabah, iyon ang nagsisilbing natural na barrier. Ibig sabihin nagpa-pile up doon ang tubig-dagat, tumataas ang level,” he said.
The Ekman Transport principle is also observed in the western shores such as Nagtabon and Tagkawayan areas where strong wave current occurs and moves away from the landmass especially at times during the intense northeast monsoon, he said.
Pajarilla added that aside from the factor of Ekman Transport and northeast monsoon, the month of January also has a high level of tides.
The local weather chief also explained that the flooding in the market area of Brooke’s Point on Monday evening, which is located beside the sea is also due to high tide. He said that around two meters of high tide rise was recorded on January 11 at 8:50 p.m. and on January 12, the peak of high tide is at 9:34 p.m. with 1.95 meters.
In a photo released by Palawan News on Tuesday morning, a netizen noted that it was the first flooding experienced in the area. He said that the above two meters of the tidal wave would be experienced on Wednesday, which will peak at 10:18 p.m., however, the northeast monsoon will have a significant decrease in its intensity until Friday.
This usually happens if the intensity of the northeast monsoon and the tidal occurrence increases at the same time, he added.
“Bakit kapag kagabi lang o kapag gabi lang ganoon uli although mas mahina lang ang amihan? Kasi kapag gabi mas mas mataas ang high tide, kagabi ang high tide ay halos dalawang metro ng 8:50. Mamaya (January 12) ng 9:34 ay 1.95 ang ating high tide. Malakas pa rin ang amihan so may posibilidad pa rin na tumaas ang ating tubig-dagat o mga alon, umapaw sa mga barrier na nilagay ng ating LGU,” he said.