PAGASA NEEDS A BIT OF SHAPING UP

Timely information can save lives. PAGASA, Philippines Weather Bureau has to step up its services to be able to serve the country better.

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Forget the debate on what is causing climate change. Let’s concentrate on the fact that we now have super typhoons that are exceedingly agile, awfully erratic, and they are very destructive.

 

Think Ondoy, Yolanda, Glenda and now Nina…

I traveled some portions of the path taken by Yolanda four (4) months after the devastation. I’ve driven from Manila to Matnog, boarded the Roro to Allen, Northern Samar and took the wheels again from there to Calbayog City then Catbalogan City and turned East in Paranas to Taft, Eastern Samar and on to Borongan City, Guiuan, then traced the way from there to Tacloban and Biliran Island.

 

I have seen the destructions, minus the angst, and if I noticed something it is the seeming concentration of Yolanda’s power to a smaller band, probably closer to the eye.

 

That gave me a more concrete idea on what “Near the Center” means whenever they say “with the strength of 250kph NEAR THE CENTER and gustiness of…”

 

Nina,  raging in the Marinduque area as I began writing this, has downed the tower of a radio station of MBC in Catanauan, Quezon which was about 10 kilometers away from the path taken by Typhoon Nina from Buhi, Camarines Sur, but the tower of a similar MBC station in Calauag, Quezon – some 30 kilometers away (air distance) from the path remains standing.

 

This kind of information is critical in saving lives and properties, thus Pagasa’s decision to come up with hourly updates whenever there are storms is laudable.

 

I’d like to point out, as well, that PAGASA’s website is now more accessible than it was before (unless it was due to the Christmas Season when people are more concerned about celebrations than checking the weather portal).

 

Unfortunately, the pictures below will show that the “hourly update” is not hourly.

 

img_1033
Screenshot of the Pagasa webpage showing the “Hourly Update.” The latest update shown was at 2:00 am December 26, 2016 the time stamp on the upper right corner of the screen was 3:51 a.m.

 

 

The picture above was a screenshot of a page inside the Pagasa Webpage. The picture below was a screenshot inside of the Pagasa app. At the time the picture below was saying Nina was “55 km West Southwest of Pili, Camarines Sur” in this picture, the tower in Catanauan has already toppled, according to a text message from Catanauan, and the text message (in a screenshot below) was 23 minutes earlier than the one shown in the app screenshot.

Catanauan is about 100 kilometers in air distance (straight line) away from Pili, Camarines Norte

Track of Typhoon "Nina" (Nock-Ten)
Track of Typhoon Nina (Nock-Ten) from Pili, Camarines Sur to Calabarzon

It is not very hard to think of how an untimely information can spell disaster to some unlucky individual or groups of individuals. Whatever ails PAGASA, it has to be resolved and its services have to be vastly improved. Lives depend on it.

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