Are we ready for the next Ondoy?

The name “Ondoy,” evokes a sense of dread and anxiety.  It was an uncoordinated disaster that brought Manila to its knees. Postmortem says it all.

It isn’t a question of, if the next Ondoy will happen, but when.  A year later, is the Philippines ready for the next Ondoy?

The Department of Science and Technology prepared a presentation on where we are in terms of deployment. In place according to the DOST are networks of stations designed to observe the weather. There are 59 Synoptic stations— meaning an observation post designed to analyze atmospheric disturbances like fronts and typhoons as well as 29 agromet stations. There are also 43 automatic weather stations across the country.

On Meteorological satellite facilities there are seven— MTSAT, NOAA, Chinese FY2, MODIS and two from WAFS. There are also metrological buoys designed to aid the maritime sector during extreme weather. One is located at Burias Island, and another in Batayan Island.

The country also has six upper air stations. One is in Laoag, another is in Tanay. Legazpi, Puerto Princesa, Cebu and Davao also have Upper Air Stations.

Doppler radars

Doppler radars located at SBMA Hinatuan and Tampakan are expected to be operational by September 2010. Tagaytay and mactan-Cebu radar between October and November 2010.

DOST-PAGASA data integration

PAGASA-DOST Data Integration is being established to create a decision support system. There is an integrated information display and analyses.

An hourly tropical warning update is intended to be in place to better aid in decision making. PAGASA-DOST also monitoring rivers and rain gauges with sensors scattered across the country. There is one for example on Marikina-Pasig River Flood Monitoring System.

PAGASA-DOST are also conducting post-storm analysis and assessment to validate and verify technologies and all these technologies point to better visualization data processing and analysis.

integrated information display analysis

DOST plans to add more marine buoys— raise it to 12 from the existing 2. Three additional doppler radars are being planned. One in Panay, another in Palawan and also in Zamboanga.

PAGASA is now conducting hourly updates. They have Doppler Radars. They have Manual and automatic weather stations, and an integrated weather observational information through automated data processing. Oh, they’re promising laymanized bulletins.

Is this good enough for now? Will it hold up against the next Ondoy? The only way to tell is to put it through the gauntlet. The short take away— government is at the very least acting and for what it’s worth, deserves a provisional, A-.


Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • Joe America ,

    A Doppler radar does not make buildings stronger or clear the drainage channels of trash or move homes off the river banks or predict higher seas and changing microclimates which threaten to dry up the rice fields and empty the cisterns, such as they are. One of the most vulnerable nations in the world to climate change . . . simply parties on . . .

    • Cocoy ,

      Definitely Joe.

      This is just one part of the equation, in my humble opinion. At least now, we’ll know when a typhoon would hit within a reasonable degree of information and maybe get lives out of harms way faster than the old way. It isn’t a perfect solution. We don’t even know if all these changes will work— and the only field test is going through another storm. we also don’t know the state of relief and rescue. Which is why i gave it a provisional A-. At least part of the problem has been solved. Guess we’ll know how well things go the next time a storm comes in.

    • Bert ,

      Yes, we are. I’ve heard people presently still living in Provident Village in Marikina are now taking swimming lessons, :).