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Tropical Storm Ofel

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Tropical Storm

Ofel

Hell And High Water

  in

The Leyte Gulf

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Tropical Storm Ofel

Tropical Storm Ofel slams the waves against the sea wall below the MacArthur Landing Memorial in Palo, Tanauan, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, Wednesday, October 24, 2012.  About the time this photograph was taken the weather bureau was reporting that the storm should be centered over the Leyte Gulf.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Leyte Landing

68th Anniversary

October 20, 1944, United States Army General Dougas MacArthur and the official party waded ashore in the Leyte Gulf to begin “The Liberation Of The Philippines.”  Two Ausralian warships and warships of the United States Navy’s 3rd Fleet and 7th Fleet sailed toward the Philippine Islands to engage the Imperial Japanese Navy in “The Largest Naval Battle Of World War II “ and “The Largest Naval Engagement Of Human History To The Present” in these waters from October 23 through October 26 in “The Battle Of Leyte Gulf.”  On the 68th Anniversary, the statues of the MacArthur Landing Memorial remain resolute as Tropical Storm Ofel unleashes nature’s bombardment on the Leyte Gulf.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 007 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren JrToday, October 24, 2012 – I had been researching and working on an article for my blog since October 20 about “The Liberation Of The Philippines” and “The Battle Of Leyte Gulf.”

 

I needed some photos to go with my story. I could of used file photos that I had shot, but I wanted “fresh” photos. I decided last night, come “Hell Or High Water” I was going to get the photos. I never realized at the time what an “prophetic”description that phrase would be.

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At the MacArthur Landing in Palo, Tanauan on the island of Leyte, the weather unleashed “Hell,: with a muddy brown sky and murky brown water that erased the horizon and created a backdrop of a muddy brown sky and murky brown water that delivered a hail of intense hard driving pellets of rain.

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The “High Water” became the vicious ocean waves that were crashing over the lower sea wall beneath the MacArthur Landing Memorial.

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Hell And High Water” arrived in the Leyte Gulf and her name, “Tropical Storm Ofel.”

 

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In the morning, I had heard in passing about a tropical storm headed for Leyte. Typhoons in the Philippines are like Tornadoes in Missouri, you keep your eyes and ears open and stay aware of the developing weather conditions. If the weather goes bad, then, you cancel your plans for the day and do something else.

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This morning, when we left Barangay Baras, on the island of Leyte, the skies were gray and everything was wet. The wind didn’t seem to be blowing all that bad around 10:30 a.m.

 

Tacloban City was the first stop on the itinerary. Naturally, I ran a few errands before I decided to go do my “photo shoot” at the statues in Palo.

 

By around noon, I came out of the Gaisano store and headed to the Santo Nino Church to pick up some flowers.

 

When a ship goes down at sea or an aircraft is lost at sea, people place a wreath upon the waves as a memorial tribute.

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World War II, the Pacific Ocean claimed many lives during the The Battle Of Leyte Gulf. It seemed placing a wreath of flowers on the water would be an appropriate way to salute the Allies soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who perished in that battle.

 

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Around 1 p.m., I stepped out of the vehicle into a hard rain. In a few minutes, every stitch of clothes I had on was saturated with water. The wind was strong. I walked toward the statues and wondered, “Maybe, I should come back tomorrow.”

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I raised my camera and began shooting photos. Ramon and Ranyiel sat in the van and watched my every step into the weather.

 

It felt like something other than rain pelleted me. It fell like hail. It made it hard to keep your head up and look into the sky.

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I had left the flowers in the vehicle to concentrate shooting the photos I had on mind. The cliché “Man Against The Elements” was a reality. I was drenched to my skin. The rain fell hard.

 

I used the wet shirt tail of my polo shirt to wipe off the water spots on the lens. Since I always keep a UV Filter on the lens of the camera any scratches end up on a $14 filter and not the more expensive lens.

 

The wind off the ocean kept pushing me farther inland. Still, I managed to move around enough to take the photos I had in mind. The wind, like an insistent mother, kept trying to move me. I finally clasped a hand to the chrome railing down a few steps to work my way down the side steps, since the wind was really trying to move things.

 

I looked up and watched it fall. Clang! One of the tall flagpoles beside the main flagpole fell straight down and the metallic clang echoed. I walked quicker, but more cautious to the vehicle.

 

I spent a few minutes, wiping off the camera lens. I was soaked through to the skin. I could not have gotten any wetter than if I had stepped into the ocean in my clothes. The height and violent nature of the waves made it obvious no one would be getting out into the Pacific Ocean today.

 

The Battle Of Leyte Gulf from Oct. 23 through October 26, 1944 had devastated “The Enemy”, 10,000 men, 27 ships, and the majority of their aircraft.

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I had not been able to get a wreath of flowers, so I looked at the small bouquet. The bouquet of flowers were all I could offer to recognize the sacrifices of the Allies, who lost six ships and 2,800 men.

 

With my camera and the flowers I made my way back to the statues. The crashing waves of water against the lower sea wall made it evident, no one would get anywhere near the beach or Leyte Gulf today.

 

I stepped back and turned to go. I noticed the platform in front of the statues. I placed the flowers on the platform.

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In honor of the men of the USS Gambler Bay and the other Allies ships and aircraft that disappeared beneath the waves, I left the flowers on the platform in front of the statues.

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Nikon D 100 Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Once, I returned home,I logged on to the Internet to read the latest tropical storm update:

 

PAGASA

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

 

 

Hourly update on OFEL
At 1:00 p.m. today, 24 October 2012, Tropical Storm "OFEL" was estimated based on satellite and surface data over Leyte Gulf (10.5°N, 125.5°E).

 

 

The weather bulletin confirmed that Ramon, Ranyiel and I had been on the “front lines” of Tropical Storm Ofel unleashing her wrath on the Leyte Gulf

Sam

 

Weather Link

 

PAGASA

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

 

http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/

 

 

Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Editor’s Note

 

October 24, 2012 — We returned to Barangay Baras and learned the power had went out about 10 minutes before we got home due to the storm. No problem My Dell laptop had a three-hour charge on the computer battery. I put the Compact Flash card in the card reader and while the pictures downloaded to to the laptop’s hard drive, I began writing the story.

 

I wrote as fast as I could and double checked some of the facts on the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. Alas before I could finish the story, the laptop flashed the warning of low power and went out a few minutes later.

 

October 28 2012 – The power briefly come back on around 4:30 p.m., and only lasted about 20 minutes in Barangay Baras. A transformer blew in Barangay Cameri and wiped out the power in a total of six barangays

 

October 29. 2012 – The power in Barangay Baras came back about 7:45 p.m.

 

October 30. 2012 – The copy and photos finally finished for this article I finally get to publish it – on “My Birthday.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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