With the PAGASA modernization program in full swing, it is expected that the agency will be able to further improve and upgrade its weather forecasting by covering the entire Visayas region with the inauguration of the Iloilo Doppler Radar and Synoptic Station located in WESVIARC, Barangay Hamungaya, Jaro, Iloilo City.

The station is one of the facilities that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recently put into operation on May 2015 to provide more accurate weather data for a more precise weather forecasting not only in Iloilo but the entireVisayas region; thus ensuring the safety of vulnerable communities from natural hazards like typhoons and floods.

“This Doppler Radar and Synoptic Station is the 13th of the targeted 15 Doppler radarsby yearend that will provide more accurate forecasting to enable our farmers, our communities to prepare ahead of time when there is a coming typhoon because this will give us detailed data to predict the amount of rainfall in particular areas at a particular given time,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.

The Doppler radar is capable of scanning and monitoring rain clouds as far as Masbate and Sorsogon area in the north and Surigao and Davao area plus the whole of Visayas region and thus enabling “nowcasting” where an impending typhoon can be easily detected and tracked, allowing for three hours lead time.

Montejo further said that the Doppler will be very useful not only on weather monitoring but for other applications as well. “The Iloilo Doppler Radar will provide us with data sets that will be helpful in managing crop planting so farmers will know weather conditions suitable for planting, applying fertilizer and harvesting,” Montejo said.

The Doppler radar will also enhance the capability of PAGASA to mitigate the negative effect of El Nino by detecting rain clouds used for cloud seeding to induce rain. With this sophisticated weather equipment, the supply of water for irrigation and agriculture will be assured and water shortage can be averted.

The initiative of DOST and PAGASA was lauded by no less than Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. of Iloilo who expressed his gratitude on behalf of the people of Iloilo and said, “We in the province of Iloilo will now be much, much prepared because of this Doppler radar and this important project will surely benefit us all so I thank Secretary Montejo for this commendable project.”

The important thing to know is that with this Doppler radar we will now be able to provide local weather forecasts for the different areas in Iloilo province and in the entire Visayas region, and this will be very helpful to our farmers, businessmen, students and the people in general, Montejofurther reiterated.

After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, the science secretary together with special guests and PAGASA officials toured the entire facility including the command center where weather monitoring is done using computers and other equipment. The land were the PAGASA station is located was donated by the Department of Agriculture.

Aside from Secretary Montejo, others present during the inauguration were the following: Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.; Dominador Co, Executive Assistant Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog; Peter Sobrevega of the Department of Agriculture; Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Director of PHIVOLCS; Dr. Landrico U. Dalida Jr., Deputy Administrator of PAGASA; Dr. FlavianaHilario of PAGASA, Engr. Oscar Tabada, PAGASA-Visayas Region Service Division OIC; Elena Quezon representing the Governor of Guimaras; representativesAklan State University and Capiz State University; and Aklan PDRRM Officer Gerry Biona.

In closing Montejo said, “The Iloilo Doppler radar will empower our people to make them safeand well informed and I see that your support and our collaboration will result in our proper response during times of calamities.”

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