Flood-prone areas being readied for La Niña

May 20, 2010 8:12 pm 

MANILA, May 20 — Communities in flood-prone areas are getting ready for the La Niña season by learning how to monitor rainfall in their respective localities, the state weather bureau said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has teamed up with Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) to prepare the country for a probable shift from El Niño to La Niña, a weather anomaly characterized by heavy downpour or high volume of rainfall.

The program, which is called Project Rain Gauge of Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART), has been replicated from its initial public school members of the telco’s Smart Schools Program (SSP) and now includes barangays and non-SSP schools in flood-prone areas.

Early this month, PAGASA reported that forecasters are monitoring the formation of La Niña in the Pacific Ocean, although the probability for La Niña remains low at the moment.

PAGASA Administrator, Dr. Prisco D. Nilo said a scenario similar to last year’s tropical storm ‘Ondoy’ and typhoon ‘Pepeng’ is not a remote possibility this year.

He said this is also because the Philippines lies directly along the typhoon belt, an area near the equator where weather disturbances form.

Furthermore, Nilo pointed out that the country is located in northwest Pacific which is the ‘cauldron’ of typhoons.

Given this prospect, PDRF and PAGASA are working with local government units to get communities, especially those in high-risk areas, involved in the disaster preparedness of their respective municipalities.

First on the list is Antipolo City, one of the places hard-hit by tropical storm ‘Ondoy’ when it ravaged parts of Metro Manila in September of last year.

On board to monitor and observe rainfall in Antipolo City are public school teachers, students, barangay representatives and members of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council of Rizal.

They represent Bagong Nayon I Elementary School, Juan Sumulong Elementary School, Cupang Elementary School, St. Joseph Elementary School, Maximo Gatlabayan National High School, Muntindilaw Elementary School and San Isidro High School; and the barangays of Bagong Nayon, San Roque, Cupang, San Jose, San Isidro and Sitio Paenaan, San Jose where the schools are located.

They are now part of SMART’s Project Rain Gauge – a network of public schools nationwide that has been doing its part in providing PAGASA additional data on local rainfall measurement in their areas for more effective and accurate local weather monitoring.

Project Rain Gauge started as a science education exercise but is now being developed as a vital source of information that may be utilized by agencies like PAGASA as a potential community-based early warning system. It is also being expanded to include other entities such as non-Smart Schools and local government units.

As members of Project Rain Gauge and to prepare them for local rainfall monitoring, the delegation from Antipolo City underwent a day-long training conducted by PAGASA held at the Juan Sumulong Elementary School.

Lectures consisted of a review of the weather systems that cause rain, the procedure and frequency of observing and recording rainfall, plus the application of rainfall measurement. The training also included a demonstration on how to install and operate rain gauges.

The Antipolo schools and barangays will each receive one manual rain gauge and one digital rain gauge to be provided by SMART.

Next to be trained for Project Rain Gauge are Rodriguez and San Mateo in Rizal, and Marikina City which have all been identified by PAGASA as flood-prone areas that were most affected during ‘Ondoy’. (PNA)

DCT/MPC

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  1. Flood-prone areas being readied for La Niña | balita.ph- Typhoon Pepeng on May 21st, 2010 4:26 am

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