Daring rescues unfold after Tropical Storm Kompasu wallops Philippines

The tropical storm left 19 dead, and forced some residents stranded by flooding to evacuate in a perilous manner.

Another tropical nightmare unfolded early this week in the storm-weary Philippines as the country received a devastating blow from Tropical Storm Kompasu.

As of Thursday, the death toll climbed to 19 in the Philippines, according to the New York Post citing disaster response officials. An additional 11 deaths are being investigated and may also have been caused by Kompasu which sparked flooding and landslides in northern parts of the country.

More than 21,000 residents were displaced from their homes, according to CNN Philippines. Additionally, at least one death was blamed on Kompasu in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post.

On Monday, one city recorded more than a foot and a half (more than 450 mm) of rain. Baguio, located on the western part of the island of Luzon, recorded a staggering 20.31 inches (515 mm) of rain in just 24 hours as Kompasu made its closest approach.

A general 4-8 inches (100-200 mm) of rain fell elsewhere across northern portions of the country, with locally higher amounts. Rivers and streams were quickly overwhelmed by Kompasu’s deluge and some overflowed their banks.

One such overflowing river prompted a dramatic rescue effort when a group of people were left trapped as a result of raging rapids in Palawan Province.

Rescue crews deployed a zip line system in order to bridge the gap between the people in need of evacuation and the solid ground. In extraordinary footage filmed at the scene, rescuers and can be seen ferrying people to safety, often just barely skimming the surface of the surging floodwaters.

In the video, roiling, muddy water rages just underfoot as people are pulled across the zip line, one by one.

Kompasu was classified as a severe tropical storm when it moved over land, which is just below typhoon status for tropical cyclones in the West Pacific.

Impacts from Kompasu began as early as this past weekend across portions of the Philippines, but the worst effects arrived Monday when the storm made landfall over the Cagayan Province in the northernmost portion of the country.

Kompasu is the storm’s internationally recognized name, but it is also known as Maring in the Philippines due to the naming conventions of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

AccuWeather forecasters say it is not uncommon for the Philippines to be the target of tropical systems given the archipelago’s position in the West Pacific. Just days earlier, the country had to deal with increased winds and rainfall as a result of Tropical Storm Lannie, which was later given the name Lionrock by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Kompasu was theseventh tropical system to make landfall over the Philippines this season.

“Kompasu is expected to bring rain and wind to areas of China and Vietnam recently impacted by Lionrock,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls said.

The arrival of Kompasu may slow recovery efforts along the southern coast of China, including Hainan Island, as well as northern Vietnam.

Across Hainan, 4-8 inches (100-200 mm) of rain fell from Wednesday into Thursday.

Despite rapidly losing wind intensity, Kompasu can bring continued rain across northern Vietnam through Friday. Total rainfall of 4-8 inches (100-200 mm) is expected, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 12 inches (300 mm) possible. Given recent heavy rain across the region, flooding and mudslides will be at an elevated threat.

The West Pacific tropical season runs throughout the entire year, but most tropical systems develop between May and October.


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