It has been remarked that GenSan and most South Central Mindanao rarely get to experience potentially hardcore inclement weather brought by storms and typhoons. The city and region’s position in southern Mindanao has done much to keep it out of the way from tropical depressions that might have struck Surigao, or northern Mindanao, or even Davao Oriental like in the past. This week, GenSan and South Central may have just gotten the closest shave with a storm in recent memory. Tropical Depression Chedeng would visit the area with enough rain and gale warnings to warrant the suspension of some classes.
As reported on ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol South Central Mindanao, fishing vessels in GenSan and Sarangani Bay erred on the side of caution by not risking the seas, following the landfall of Tropical Depression Chedeng in Malita, Davao Occidental this Monday, March 18. As that and most of the following day, March 19, saw overcast skies and long periods of rain spurred 12 local government units to order the suspension of classes up to senior high school in significantly-affected areas. In GenSan, the suspensions were from preschool to elementary only, due to a lesser amount of rainfall and no gale warnings.
The decision of fishing boat operators to stay put during Chedeng’s transit of Mindanao was due to pragmatism, not wanting to waste fuel setting out to sea with the possibility that they might be turned back by worsening conditions or the authorities. Coastal fishing communities were also primed for possible evacuation in case of storm surge. PAGASA GenSan weather forecaster Rodrigo Mamites notes that upon its landfall in Davao Occidental, Tropical Depression Chedeng has weakened into a low pressure area. It was still bad enough that South Cotabato had to raise the Orange rainfall warning.
In Koronadal City, some houses were flooded at Barangay Zone 3. Thankfully, their Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office report no casualties of any sort. Nevertheless, the routine warnings to residences in landslide-prone areas were sent out. Only Storm Signal Number 1 was raised in the region for Monday, with it being removed Tuesday. All classes are expected to normalize in GenSan, South Cotabato and Sarangani as of today. As for Chedeng, it has all but dissipated over Mindanao due to not being powerful enough to survive until reaching open water again, following landfall.
Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US)