December 5, 2012: A couple of days ago, I overhead a sailor on the docks say the dreaded “T” word. Typhoon! So I quickly checked the weather online to discover that Typhoon Bopha (locally called Typhoon Pablo here in the Philippines) was building to a catgory five cyclone sitting offshore in the Pacific and heading straight for the Philippines.
But hang on, I said, it’s December, well past the rainy season and typhoon season. That is true, but I’ve since learned that there is often one outlier in the last month of the year. And those that occur toward the end of the year tend to be doozies. One last kick at the can, so to speak, until next year’s season begins all over again.
With Chris at work in Azerbaijan, kitty and I were going to have to deal with this one. Before I could even text the fellows who help look after the boat while Chris is away, they were here. Adding extra lines. Helping take down the bimini and sun covers. Battening down the hatches.
The forecast showed it would pass well south of here, but better to be safe than sorry!
Pablo came ashore early yesterday morning in Mindanao, one of the southernmost islands in the country. Wind gusts topped 210 km/hour. But it was the rain that did most of the damage there, causing landslides and flash floods. Severe damage was reported in Mindanao and the Visayas with the Philippine Star tonight reporting the death toll at 238 and 75% of houses in the worst hit areas damaged.
This afternoon, Pablo passed over Palawan in the western part of the country before heading back offshore. This was the point closest to us and still about 500 miles away.
Here in Subic, you’d hardly know there was a storm raging to the south of us. The sky was overcast, but the winds weren’t out of the ordinary. The temperature at sunset a refreshing 28.5C, which actually felt a little cool. Given the benign weather here, it’s hard to comprehend the news coming from the southern provinces.
Thanks everyone who emailed to check that we were okay once the story hit the news back home.
PS: Maybe I spoke too soon. As I finish this post and get it ready to publish it on the blog, the sky lit up with lightning.