Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pagasa insists on acquiring Doppler radars

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration reiterated the need to acquire a Doppler radars, in the wake of the havoc created by the tornadoes which consecutively hit provinces in Central Luzon the past weeks.

Aside from the capability to predict the volume of rainfall during frequent typhoons, Doppler radars can see the "inside" of a thunderstorm and detect hazardous weather conditions such as tornadoes.

A tornado, or a twister, is a localized windstorm with a speed of 450 kilometers per hour, characterized by funnel-shaped, rapidly whirling cloud extending downward from the base of a dark cumulonimbus or thunderstorm clouds.

Since July 30 this year, five tornadoes have struck Central Luzon - each in towns of Baliuag, San Rafael, San Miguel, Bocaue, all in Bulacan, and one in Candaba, Pampanga.

Twisters are spawned by severe weather condition, including the prevalence of low pressure area and cloudiness associated with intertropical convergence zone. These promote the formation of thunderstorm clouds, the breeding grounds of twisters.

"Central Luzon, particularly Bulacan, is not high-risk to tornadoes," said Jun Dalida, assistant chief of the Pagasa National Disaster Reduction Branch. She clarified amidst earlier reports that said province should expect more twisters in the coming days.

A total of 172 tornadoes has occured nationwide, mostly in Mindanao, since 1994, data from the Pagasa said.

On Nov. 29, 1994, a tornado struck Cotabato City and farming villages in southern Philippines, where 14 people went missing. A month earlier, on Oct. 16, three people were killed when a tornado struck an evacuation center in San Fernando, Pampanga.

On July 2, 1994, a tornado killed two children in a riverside village near Cagayan de Oro City. But the heaviest toll was recorded on June 14, 1990 when 30 people were killed when a tornado swept through a village in Manukan town, Zamboanga del Norte province.

Two Doppler radars, worth P110 million are currently at the bidding process at the Procurement Office at the Department of Budget and Management.

Once acquired, the radars will be installed in Subic, Olongapo and Tagaytay in Cavite.

The government is embarking on a grand plan, which seeks to have 10 doppler radars installed in various parts of the country by year 2010. (PNA)

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