Almost all of us in Metro Manila was taken by surprise by Typhoon Basyang. Reports from PAGASA stated that Basyang will hit Northern Luzon so I was just expecting some rain or wind. PAGASA was mistaken. They were even more mistaken when they announced that Basyang has weakened into a tropical storm and will hit Northern Quezon. In reality, Basyang directly hit Metro Manila which was unprepared. The storm felled countless trees, power lines, and other utilities. The Metro was in the dark. PAGASA is still in the dark.
It is given that we have a huge budget deficit and the government might not be able to afford an upgrade of PAGASA’s instruments. There are resources, free or at a minimal cost, PAGASA can make use of. Have a quick browse of Mike Padua’s http://www.typhoon2000.ph/ and you will see links to many satellite images. I assume the people of PAGASA know how to interpret them. PAGASA could also subscribe to a professional account at Accuweather.com for $699.95 a year. Expensive but they will have access to a number of global forecast models, including Wavewatch II for tsunami alerts.
PAGASA needs to think out of the box. Accurate weather forecasting is an immediate need and even lives are at stake here. What PAGASA may do for now is to study such alternatives and retrain their personnel.