With new devices, Pagasa tries to weather its storms

CEBU CITY -- The weather bureau’s Mactan, Cebu station hopes to install next month some new equipment that will improve forecasts, just in time for the typhoons that usually arrive late in the year.

A Doppler radar system worth around P18 million will enable the station to monitor almost 5,000 kilometers and locate weather disturbances.

“Probably, we will install this by August,” said Engr. Oscar Tabada of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan.

It will help the station forecast how intense an approaching typhoon is, based on the volume of water in the atmosphere.

The radar will be placed on the top level of a newly built, seven-story tower. Electricians have been contacted to install the radar by August.

“Once mataod amo dayon ning testingan, hopefully nindot ang kalabasan ani (Once it’s installed, we will test it. Hopefully, the results will be good),” said Boy Artiaga, a weather observer.

A P35-million marine weather station was also recently installed in Madridejos.

“This marine buoy works the same as the Automatic Weather Station (AWS). However, the marine buoy is placed within seawater, while the AWS is installed on land,” said Tabada.

In the Visayas, 25 Automatic Weather Stations have been installed. Five of these are in Cebu: Mactan, Daanbantayan, Camotes Island, Bogo City and a town in the south.

The AWS is a stand-alone device that measures weather-related factors and transmits real-time data.

It will also measure basic weather parameters every hour such as wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, rainfall and water levels.

Tabada said that Pag-asa bought the new equipment to become more accurate in predicting the weather.

Earlier this year, Mandaue City experienced almost 90 minutes of heavy rainfall that caused a massive flash flood.

In a press conference held in the Department of Health last Friday, as part of the National Disaster Consciousness month, Tabada said that based on the statistics gathered by Pag-asa in previous years, July to August is a period often marked by typhoons.

However, he said the climate in the Philippines has been unpredictable lately.

“These are concrete manifestations that there is already global warming in our country,” he said. (JBT of Sun.Star Cebu)

For more local stories, visit www.sunstar.com.ph

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