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Sunday, December 25, 2011

PAGASA has properly warned the public on TS Sendong

Philippine Atmospheric Geographical and Astronomical Sciences Administration (PAGASA) has properly warned the public since 5 PM of December 13, 2001 (Tuesday) since the formation of tropical depression was spotted outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) up until 4 pm of December 18, 2011 (Sunday) when Sendong moved out of the PAR.

Path of TS Sendong was Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Northern Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental to Bohol Sea, passing through the seas south of Negros Oriental towards Sulu Sea before crossing Palawan then exit to West Philippine Sea.

Actual movement of Sendong was predicted accurately, with its position, maximum wind, gustiness, movement, diameter, and rainfall estimate in the affected areas.

PAGASA issued the following, advisory at 11 AM December 14, 2011 (Wed) on Tropical Depression outside PAR (South of Guam) and 15 Severe Weather Bulletins (SWBs).

At 5 AM, 15 December 2011 (Thursday), the tropical depression outside PAR was incorporated in the synopsis of 5 AM Public Weather Forecast; at 11 AM, 15 December 2011 (Thursday) it issued the initial Severe Weather Bulletin Alert as TD SENDONG enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). (Issued SWB #1).

At 5 PM, 15 December 2011 (Thursday), SENDONG intensifies into a storm. PAGASA conducted first press conference. (SWB #2); 11 AM, 16 December 2011 (Friday), TS Sendong approaching land. Press Conference held at PAGASA. Issued SWB #5; 3 PM of 16 December 2011 (Friday), TS ‘Sendong” made landfall in the vicinity of, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. (Issued SWB# 6 at 5PM).

At 11 PM of 16 December 2011 (Friday), when TS Sendong was spotted near Malaybalay Bukidnon. (Issued SWB #7); at 4 AM, 17 December 2011 (Saturday), Center of TS Sendong spotted at 20 kms WNW of Cagayan de Oro City (SWB #8); and at 4 PM of 18 December 2011 (Sunday) TS “Sendong” moves out of the PAR.

There was also the recorded 6 hourly rainfall from December 16-17, 2011 in Lumbia, Hinatuan, Ginuan, Tacloban, Dipolog and Malaybalay.

PAGASA issued hourly updates through Twitter and Facebook; deployed personnel to OCD operation center; and held press conferences in PAGASA Weather and Flood Forecasting Center, attended by Media personnel.

Mr. Ric Mercado, Chief of Mindanao PAGASA Regional Services Div. (MPRSD) regularly announced TS Sendong’s behavior through broadcast media (Radio/TV) in CDO (through Bombo Radio, ABS-CBN) until Midnight of December 16, 2011.

He coordinated with local DRRMC to suspend mining operations from Surigao down to Davao and warned public against flashfloods, landslides, and storm surges.

The Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) board of officers expressed their full support to PAGASA Supervising Undersecretary Graciano Yumul, Jr., and Administrator Nathaniel Servando, weather forecasters and their men in the field who are presently beleaguered with malicious attacks from sectors out to ruin the office.

The PWEA firmly believes that the PAGASA leadership and their colleagues do not deserve the blame even partly resulting from the Sendong tragedy. They are truly saddened by accusations directed at them because they fully know that they had efficiently performed their tasks before, during and after the passage of Tropical Storm Sendong.

Relative to these, DOST-PAGASA, to improve flood monitoring and forecasting has the following program: First, to monitor water levels in river systems in real time. It targets installation of 1,000 water level sensors for all river systems (18 river basins) in which 500 water level sensors will be deployed to selected major river basins in 2012.

Second, to enhance rainfall and weather forecasting. Data from Doppler radars, satellites, AWS, and rain gauges, are to be integrated through numerical model WRF; and third, to enhance flood forecasting to determine expected impact to local communities. Ester Z. Gallardo, PScijourn Mega Manila

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