Faster and reliable real-time weather forecasts and flood warnings are expected to help people to prepare against typhoon-whipped disasters, the Department of Science and Technology said following an agreement with wireless communications giant Smart on co-location of telemetric rain gauges at the latter’s cell sites.
DOST through its weather forecasting agency, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration signed an agreement October 5 with Smart Communications initially covering the latter’s 63 cell sites nationwide.
“The co-location of our telemetric gauges in Smart cell sites will complement our on-going program to strengthen the capacity of PAGASA in issuing weather forecasts and flood warnings to the public,” DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said.
Each telemetric rain gauge automatically sends rainfall data to PAGASA’s 44 Automatic Weather Stations in the form of short messaging system or SMS. The data are then posted real-time in PAGASA’s website [www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph].
The co-location arrangement also means PAGASA telemetric rain gauges will have uninterrupted power supplies during power outage caused by the weather disturbances.
Moreover, DOST Undersecretary and concurrently PAGASA acting Administrator Graciano P. Yumul Jr. explained that the agreement saves the weather bureau additional expenses in setting up new locations for its weather forecasting instruments since Smart cell sites are already in place nationwide.
The new agreement expands a similar initiative previously covering Metro Manila. Smart offered to accommodate the installation of the additional PAGASA rain gauges in its cell sites nationwide.
PAGASA and Smart engineers earlier met to identify the ideal sites for co-location of the rain gauges in areas such as Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Benguet, Bulacan, Zambales, Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Mindoro Oriental, and Marinduque Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon in Luzon and Negros Occidental, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Bohol, Northern Samar, and Leyte in the Visayas.
Other provinces in Mindanao considered for the project include Lanao Del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani, Davao Del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.
“Smart is very happy to be part of this noble partnership which aims at saving the lives of our people during disasters,” Smart Communications President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno said.