GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 May) – The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is investing around P5 million for the establishment within this year of a modern hydrometeorological station at the city airport compound here.
Dr. Vicente Malano, acting PAGASA administrator, said the facility will mainly be utilized to enhance the weather monitoring for the city airport and the flood forecasting and monitoring activities along critical waterways in the city and nearby Sarangani Province.
He said the agency is currently working on the signing of a memorandum of agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for the establishment of the hydrometeorological station.
The official said the planned facility, which will be housed in a two-story building, will comprise state-of-the-art equipment that will be capable of monitoring and processing data regarding the area’s water condition, rainfall intensity and the volume of water in the area’s river systems.
It will complement with the scheduled deployment by the second half of the year of automatic weather stations, automatic rain gauges and automatic water level gauges along the critical Buayan-Malungon river basin.
He said the weather stations and rain gauges will be installed along the river basin’s upstream portions while the water level gauges will be placed in its downstream tributaries.
The gauges will gather data regarding the condition of the river system and immediately transmit them to the hydrometerological station for proper processing, he said.
“These will provide us with real-time data regarding the status and condition of rivers and streams along the Buayan-Malungon river basin that we could eventually use in warning local communities in case of potential disasters,” he said.
Malano said they chose the Buayan-Malungon river basin as among the priorities for the deployment of the automatic monitoring gauges this year due to the worsening flooding incidents in the areas that it traverses.
He specifically cited the perennial floods during the rainy season in portions of this city and nearby Alabel town in Sarangani Province.
In August last year, around 200 families situated in communities traversed by the river basin were displaced due the severe floods that hit the area.
The floods also affected portions of Alabel town in Sarangani, especially in communities located near tributaries of the river basin, which drains to the Sarangani Bay.
Malano said that aside from the airport here, another hydrometeorological station will later be built at the Cotabato airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao.
He said the facility will be utilized for the airport weather monitoring and flood forecasting activities for the Cotabato river basin.