Presently, we have a storm warning system based on the gustiness of air that is an indicator for suspension of classes. However, times are changing as the amount of rainfall surpasses the wind speed, causing confusion among the community.
Last June 20, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) devised a Rainfall Warning System as part of their two-phase program to improve the agency’s weather alert system, patterned after the Hong Kong Observatory’s three-level rainstorm alert system. This is different from the Public Storm Warning Signal system (PSWS), and is being implemented only in Metro Manila as of press time.
In this system, there are three warning signals: Yellow, Orange and Red. The Yellow signal indicates that 7.5 to 15 mm (heavy) rain is observed in one hour and is expected to continue in the next two hours, in which flooding is possible and the people are advised to monitor the latest weather condition. The Orange signal indicates that 15 to 30 mm (intense) rain is observed in which the flood it will create is threatening and the people is advised to be alert for a possible evacuation. The Red signal states that there has been more than 30 mm rain that can produce serious flooding which is expected in low-lying areas, and the people are advised to evacuate.
The initial color code Orange was supposed to be Green, modeled after the color coding scheme of the under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Community-Based Flood Early Warning System (CBFEWS) but was then changed to its present state after a number of people on the internet expressed their uncertainty. GMA News’ resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz stated in an article over its online news portal that “The public has long waited for an alert system like this, but it still needs improvement to be put to good use.”
This, among numerous efforts that the government has done in the past months shall serve as a tool to create countermeasures that could save our lives. ( Jay Paul Agonoy )