New Doppler radar for Visayas launched
WITH the modernization program of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration ( Pagasa) in full swing, it is expected that the agency will be able to further improve and upgrade its weather forecasting by covering the entire Visayas region. To attain this goal, the Iloilo Doppler Radar and Synoptic Station in Wesviarc, Barangay Hamungaya, Jaro, Iloilo City, was inaugurated recently.
The station is one of the facilities that Pagasa recently put into operation in May 2015 to provide more accurate weather data for a more precise weather forecasting not only in Iloilo but in the entire Visayas; thus, ensuring the safety of vulnerable communities from natural hazards, like typhoons and floods.
“This Doppler Radar and Synoptic Station is the 13th of the targeted 15 Doppler radars by yearend that will provide more accurate forecasting to enable our farmers, our communities, to prepare ahead of time when there is a coming typhoon, because this will give us detailed data to predict the amount of rainfall in particular areas at a particular given time,” Science Secretary Mario G. Montejo said.
The Doppler radar is capable of scanning and monitoring rain clouds as far as Masbate and Sorsogon area in the north, and Surigao and Davao area, plus the whole of Visayas region. Thus, it is enabling “nowcasting,” where an impending typhoon can be easily detected and tracked, allowing for three hours lead time. Montejo said the Doppler radar will be very useful not only on weather monitoring but for other applications, as well. “The Iloilo Doppler Radar will provide us with data sets that will be helpful in managing crop planting, so farmers will know weather con- ditions suitable for planting, applying fertilizer and harvesting,” Montejo said.
The Doppler radar will also enhance the capability of Pagasa to mitigate the negative effect of El Niño by detecting rain clouds used for cloud seeding to induce rain. With this sophisticated weather equipment, the supply of water for irrigation and agriculture will be assured and water shortage can be averted. The initiative of the DOST and Pagasa was lauded by no less than Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. of Iloilo, who expressed his gratitude on behalf of the people of Iloilo.
“We, in the province of Iloilo, will now be much, much prepared because of this Doppler radar, and this important project will surely benefit us all. I thank Secretary Montejo for this commendable project,” Defensor said.
The important thing to know is that with this Doppler radar, we will now be able to provide local weather forecasts for the different areas in Iloilo province and in the entire Visayas region, and this will be very helpful to our farmers, businessmen, students and the people, in general, Montejo reiterated. “The Iloilo Doppler radar will empower our people to make them safe and well- informed, and I see that your support and our collaboration will result in our proper response during times of calamities,” he said.
After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, the science secretary, together with special guests and Pagasa officials, toured the entire facility, including the command center, where weather monitoring is done using computers and other equipment. The land where the Pagasa station is located was donated by the Department of Agriculture.
Besides Montejo and Defensor, others present during the inauguration were Dominador Co, executive assistant; Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog; Peter Sobrevega of the Department of Agriculture; Dr. Renato U. Solidum, director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology; Dr. Landrico U. Dalida Jr., deputy administrator of Pagasa; Dr. FlavianaHilario of Pagasa, Engr. Oscar Tabada, Pagasa-Visayas Region Service Division OIC; Elena Quezon representing the governor of Guimaras; representatives of Aklan State University and Capiz State University; and Aklan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Gerry Biona.
SCIENCE Secretary Mario G. Montejo (fourth from left) unveils the marker on the new Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration Iloilo Weather Station, where a new Doppler radar is installed. With Montejo is Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. (right).