Localize weather forecasts

This is the second day Gener has kept us indoors. The wind has been lashing out non-stop at its full strength of 150 kph. I’ve been listening to it – the force of it – and I thought if unadulterated rage can be seen and heard this is it in the wind. Today’s wind is worse and I think it’s because this is Gener’s tail, and moving away at 7 kph, it sure is taking its time swiping at the City before it finally leaves.

Queer though that there was no typhoon signal raised for the City or Benguet. Yesterday, the Mayor and Governor had to make the declaration that classes on all levels are suspended even without the “official” typhoon signal warning from Pagasa.

I believe this is what Pagasa Central Office doesn’t know – that the City and the Province because of its height at xx thousand above sea level experience typhoons uniquely. I’ve travelled in the middle of typhoons (signal No.2) from Baguio to Manila (or the other way) and when I’m down on the lowlands I felt as if I’ve come from an altogether different world. I left the City beaten down with ferocious wind and rain only to see mild downpour on areas down the mountain. Yet it’s the low lying areas which were under the typhoon signal. It’s common sense really because there’s no such thing (unless the planet has gone berserk) as a typhoon going down close to the ground and leaving the upper layers untouched. Also, descending wind loses speed therefore it’s always the upper layers (unless they’re in the eye) that feel the ferocity of the typhoon. And even if the typhoon’s in Mindanao or Visayas, far off mountain areas are subject to the same intensity (sometimes more) because of the typhoon’s wide reach. There were times when I travelled on the same day from Visayas where there was typhoon and got down in Manila where the sun’s shining and went up to Baguio where it’s like signal No. 3! This is science – earth science – at play and not mere coincidence. Location and height has much to do with it and how many exact permutations (geographical locations) of places in this country are there?

Pagasa should localize – at the regional level – its warning system (including declarations) because it can’t know the real situation of localities from its central office in Manila. Baguio for instance is home to one of its weather stations (apart from a neglected climate observatory) where it can do weather forecasts and such for the region. By localizing weather forecasts and warning systems, it frees itself up for standards setting and quality assurance. Let local weather stations do their jobs.

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