The Problem with PAGASA: You Are Too Late…

During the recent approach to Cebu and Bantayan Island by Tropical Typhoon “Ramon” a few days ago, it became quickly apparent that PAGASA is not doing a sufficient Job in closely monitoring the weather in the Philippines.

From my vantage point, it was clear that when Ramon changed direction before making landfall with Cebu, that no one was aware of the change in course, because PAGASA does not conduct rapid enough assessments of approaching storms. Instead of an every six hour or twelve hour assessments, perhaps it would be advisable to give updates every fifteen minutes or so when a storm is on final approach to a populated landmass.

Typhoon Ramon was due to make landfall with Cebu on Thursday October 13, 2011, PAGASA stated in their weather update. The storm actually arrived an entire day early on Wednesday, passed Cebu city and went out to sea before PAGASA even reported the change in course.

On Bantayan Island, resorts were boarded up, people on high alert, expecting Typhoon Ramon to make direct contact with Bantayan around Mid-night on Thursday October 13th. Instead, Typhoon Ramon missed the island by close to 100 Kilometers, making evacuations and Typhoon preparations completely unnecessary. The storm changed course a day earlier, yet PAGASA did not inform anyone of the change until Ramon had already passed Cebu and gone out to open water.

Unless PAGASA changes their present approach to predicting approaching Typhoon’s in the Philippines, I predict that many will be looking for new jobs.

As inhabitants of the Philippine islands, we need faster and more frequent updates on the status of approaching Typhoon’s or tropical storms, so that we might be better prepared. How many lives have been lost because the weather updates are too late for citizens to get out of the way before disaster strikes?

If you agree that PAGASA needs to do a better job, write or call your local government official and let them know a change is needed.

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