QUEZON CITY — The Philippines will experience in 2013 a repeat of the weather conditions experienced this 2012, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
Such conditions include the monsoon rains experienced in August which left a large part of Luzon and Metro Manila submerged.
PAGASA thus warned the people to brace for more destructive typhoons similar to “Pablo” and “Quinta” which killed thousands of people, destroyed billions of pesos in properties, and caused flashfloods that wiped out entire towns.
Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley Province were the worst-hit areas by “Pablo” which caused the death of more than 1,060 people and destroyed P36.9 billion in property, infrastructures, and agricultural crops. More than 1,000 were also believed lost in the super typhoon.
“Quinta” itself battered the Central Visayas this Christmas Day and caused 12 deaths with damage to agriculture estimated at P146.128 million.
With these series of deadly storms,
PAGASA administrator Nathaniel V. Servando said all Filipinos, especially those residing in Mindanao, should always be on alert and should know by heart hazardous locations in their region.
Servando said those were among the challenging moments of PAGASA in terms of weather prediction this year.
But he said “we were able to deliver what is expected from us and we did it in a timely, accurate and effective manner.”
He added the PAGASA is continuing on its efforts and initiatives to enhance its capabilities such as the formulation and the implementation of the rainfall warning system, installation of more automatic weather station in coordination with Advanced science and Technology Institute and Dept. of Science and Technology and also adding an operational three doppler radar in Virac, Aparri and Tampakan.
PAGASA came out with a two-phase program with which to alert the public.
The first part of the program, started in June, was a tri-colored rainfall warning system that drew flak as the colors red, yellow, and green confused many about the actual amount of rainfall to expect.
PAGASA’s flood warning system confused many people with its traffic light-like colors. The green has since been changed to orange in August.
It’s rainfall warning system is only applied in Metro Manila.
However, PAGASA’s thunderstorm warning system is a nationwide alert system, with the state weather bureau posting thunderstorm forecasts on its Twitter and Facebook accounts as often as necessary.
Servando said the agency also supports the implementation of DOST’s NOAH project.
Project NOAH—short for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards—aims to reduce casualties and property loss and make the country more disaster-resilient through research and development and the promotion of solutions via science and technology.
Servando said by next year some equipment of the agency will be fully operational.
At the same time, they are continuing an information education and communication program, which aims to promote awareness among citizens as well as the local government units on the perils and dangers of extreme weather events.
“Well, ongoing pa ang installation ng ibang mga mahahalagang equipment at kapag naging fully operational ang mga ito asahan natin na mas magiging maganda ang weather monitoring natin. Some of these will be operational next year,” Servando added.
Meanwhile, the state weather bureau also said the El Niño phenomenon will no longer be felt in the country until early next year.
Dr. Flaviana Hilario, head of Research and Development of the PAGASA, said the sea surface temperatures throughout the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean have started to gradually cool since October and now returning to its “neutral conditions.”
“It was last October when we observed the tropical Pacific was cooling down,” she added.
Hilario said most climate models predicted that the “neutral conditions” in the Pacific Ocean will persist until May next year.
Warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean can trigger an El Niño phenomenon, which brings less rainfall and drought during its peak.
The El Niño is the opposite of the La Niña phenomenon, which is associated with “wetter” conditions. (Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)