The Problem with Signal No. 2

Unless a Signal no. 2 is declared, classes aren't suspended, even if students have to wade through knee-deep waters brought by rain from an LPA. Under signal no. 2, workers need to come to work, even if they have to face a shortage of transportation and also wade through floodwaters, because, by general belief, under Signal No. 2, it is still safe to be outdoors.

That's because under the current typhoon signals issued by PAGASA, Signal No. 2 means 'winds of greater than 60 kph and up to 100 kph may be expected in at least 24 hours.. and.. in general, the winds may bring light to moderate damage to the exposed communities.' The rest of what the signals mean, here.

See, there, our current typhoon signals only account for wind speed/strength, and how soon (in hours) the typhoon/strong winds will be experienced inland.

For goodness' sake, we're a tropical country, where rain is EXPECTED even if there is no typhoon. By experience, from Ondoy and our dozens of Low Pressure Area occurences, when the packed winds are weak, rains are heavy. Isn't it about time our typhoon signals are changed or adjusted to consider also the amount of rainfall, and how that poses risks to safety and damage to property?

How about a Signal No. 1 to 2 for moderate to heavy rainfall but weak winds (like those brought about by LPAs), and Signal no. 3 to 5 to indicate moderate to strong winds, as those brought by typhoons?

I suppose our weather monitoring and reporting systems are, as all other else in government, patterned after the systems of our former colonizers. But we need to evolve and adapt to the changing times and needs! PAGASA, over everybody else, should know global climate change means typhoons and other general conditions will not be the same as decades ago. Therefore, PAGASA needs to change the way it identifies the damage and safety risks brought about by a storm, by including the hazards of heavy rainfall.

And may I say, this inability to consider the effects of rainfall has greatly jeopardized PAGASA's credibility. The general observation is that PAGASA's forecasts are always 'baliktad,' -- the opposite-- because just when they raise typhoon signals to levels when classes and work do get suspended, there are no rains, and people can actually go outdoors! Albay Governor Joey Salceda has repeatedly lambasted PAGASA for failing to warn the province of the potential damage from incoming typhoons or LPAs; yet in reality, PAGASA has issued typhoon signals or weather reports for the entire archipelago. Again, that's because the forecasts and warnings are primarily based on wind speed.

Systems aren't and shouldn't be 'one-size-fits-all.' They need to be customized and tailored towards the function they are supposed to serve. Otherwise, they are useless.

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I wonder, does PAGASA have the necessary equipment to predict the amount of rainfall brought by a typhoon/LPA? Baka dapat yung ipinanambili natin ng warship dito na lang ginastos. I believe we should pick battles that are big enough to matter, small enough to win. Then again, this opinion belongs to a different post altogether. =)

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Why AnneThology?

Anthology means a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts. My name is Anne, and this blog contains a collection of my thoughts, musings and writings (poems, short stories), some songs I like, plus a sprinkling of excerpts I find worth sharing --hence, AnneThology.

Did you know?

Anthology derives from the Greek word ἀνθολογία (anthologia; literally “flower-gathering”) for garland — or bouquet of flowers — which was the title of the earliest surviving anthology, assembled by Meleager of Gadara.

Look, what I have -- these are all for you.