Weather, weather lang
Almost on a daily basis, it rains in most if not all parts of the metro. Some select provinces like Quezon or the Bicol region or the northern most part of the archipelago experience storms very regularly in the second semester of the year.
Thankfully, we have not had our quota of super typhoons in Manila this year, but we still have more than two months before we can heave a sigh of relief. Still, the metro has been inundated with flood waters and this is becoming almost a daily occurrence, much to the dismay of students and other daily commuters.
Notwithstanding Trump and his silly denial of the reality of weather change, we need to come to terms with it and adapt to this reality. We can’t battle the forces of nature when its wrath is upon us, but we can certainly prepare. Being forewarned is being forearmed, and awareness is key.
We came upon Weather Philippines, a low-key but dedicated organization whose mission is to do daily weather forecasts and thus empower people with relevant weather news. What they deliver is not just to warn us of adverse conditions, but also guide us Filipinos on what can be done on a day-to-day basis as far as the weather is concerned.
Weather Philippines was founded in 2012 as a corporate social responsibility project of the Aboitiz Group of Companies. The chairman used to be Enrique Aboitiz but now it is Sabine Aboitiz who sits at the helm, with several conglomerates as partners.
To promote their advocacy, Weather Philippines relies on three pillars, the first of which is technology. According to its general manager, Dave Michael Valeriano, they have the most extensive network of automated weather stations in the Philippines, numbering over 800. For each station, they dish out localized weather conditions that include forecasts and actual condition in the area. This can be accessed through their free mobile application at Weather Philippines and their website at www.weather.ph.org. Their network also allows them to generate historical info which can be useful whether for public service or for development work, and this can be had for free.
Operating an extensive weather forecast on a daily basis is no mean feat, and for this they need to rely on vital partnerships, their second pillar. Fortunately, conglomerates like Ayala and SM, and a few private individuals, subscribe to their advocacy and help provide the logistics for the organization. With the continued support of co-advocates, the organization hopes to put up a weather station in all areas of the Philippines, starting with those areas that are most prone to typhoons.
Lastly, their mission, according to Dave Michael Valeriano, is not just about accurate forecasts but making the information accessible and understandable to the ordinary Pinoy. According to Valeriano, they have to ”laymanize” the information that they dish out to the general public.
The organization has now partnered with the Department of Education. With the partnership, they conduct weather training sessions with science teachers and principals in the various divisions of DepEd across the country. They can customize their training and can do it for students, teachers, business establishments, professionals, even farming communities and fisherfolks. They can conduct seminars as scheduled by their strategic partners. Requests for training can be coursed through the local government units.
They have also partnered with the local government units and are collaborating with different government agencies. The data logger that they are currently using in running their network was designed by the Advance Science & Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology. They are happy to share the good news that soon, they will introduce new weather models that will make possible even better weather forecasts that will include the probability of rainfall on hourly forecasts. This will greatly help students and daily commuters, parents of school children who cannot decide on whether to let their young kids go to school because of possible inclement weather. Whether it rains or not, wouldn’t it be great if we are empowered to plan our activities for the day on a day-to-day- basis? Dave says they won’t stop there — they will continuously innovate, but what is important is they will render service that is usable by every Juan.
Mr. Dave Michael Valeriano graciously showed the B&L crew a sample of their very compact weather station that had an ultrasonic sensor imported from Germany that measures temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction and a gauge that measures rain. They have a solar-powered data logger that sends data from the weather station to the system so it can be processed by their provider. They have a meteorological team which constantly monitors satellite feeds on their screen. The meteorologists can assess how much rain has fallen in the last 24 hours in various parts of the country or which areas have had no rain. They are the ones who make daily forecasts based on the satellite feeds.
As Dave says, they are everyone’s asset and he invites everyone to download their free mobile appform the Apple Store or from
Google Play. Their hashtag is weather wiser nation, and if everyone can indeed tap into this vital information on a daily basis, we can be a weather wise Philippines.
Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino. For comments and inquiries (email) sunshine.television@yahoo. com