The rains of Tuesday, March 16, 2011 in Tacloban City and nearby towns was unusually heavy. It was incessant, literally pouring with no letup starting late Monday evening, till the next morning and the entire day, and on… and on…  till past midnight.

Facebook posts were all petitioning the heavens for the rain to please stop.

A really heavy downpour lasting only  for a couple of hours easily puts low-lying areas of the city underwater, particularly some areas at the downtown area, the V & G Subdivision and some sections of the national highway. How much more for one lasting like more than 24 hours!

That was for the record!

It probably was one of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded for Tacloban in decades!

And the ensuing floods was truly unprecedented. It was common to hear folks claiming it was the first time ever in their entire lives to have experienced flood waters enter their homes.

Ever.

How massive the damage is to both lives and property is unimaginable.

Monitoring the radio and the internet for whatever news late into the night and the next morning, the first of tragic reports trickled in: Family of 7 dead, buried under a landslide in Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City. Landslides reported, too, in Brgy. Utap and Brgy. Upper Nula-tula. Calls for help for evacuation from terrified, trapped residents at some low-lying areas. Easily affected were those living along river banks and creeks whose water levels had overflowed.

Palo, the town next to Tacloban City, was flooded badly. Bangon River had swelled to threatening levels and the Bernard Reed Bridge, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation, was at risk of being damaged further.

We heard reports of a bridge in Sta. Fe being hit by flood waters and rendered impassable, effectively cutting off motor travel to the south from Tacloban to Ormoc and Biliran. (Update 11PM March 18: damaged bridge now passable; travel to Ormoc now okay. – gerry)

Gosh this was serious.

So me and my wife, Ludette, set off this afternoon for a look-see. We headed straight to Bangon River in Palo where we earlier heard reports of heavy flooding.

Here’s what I got…

Photos taken March 17, 2011.

The scene at the newly-opened Baras-Salvacion Bridge: Bangon River in Palo, Leyte swells and overflows.

A 10-wheeler truck crossing over to Palo near the Bernard Reed Bridge.

Bernard Reed Bridge, above, with water underneath reaching dangerous levels.

Above photos: the scene along the Bangon River banks as seen from Purisima Bridge in Palo, Leyte.

The scene at an evacuation center in Brgy. Cogon, Palo.

At Brgy. Salvacion, Palo.

VIEW MORE PHOTOS >>>

View flooding at Palo gallery slideshow.
Music: Clair de Lune (from Suite bergamasque of Debussy’s) by Daniel Ho

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