PAGASA to install another AWS in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 24 August)– The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is set to install another automated weather station (AWS) in South Cotabato province in a bid to enhance its weather and rainfall monitoring in the area.

John Lorca, disaster response coordinator of the South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said Friday officials of the weather bureau formally signified its intention earlier this week to install a third weather station in the area as part of its ongoing nationwide rollout.

“This new weather station will mainly enable us to collect more accurate weather and rainfall data, and help us prepare against possible weather or climatic-related disasters that might hit the area,” he said.

Lorca said the planned weather station will be PAGASA’s second monitoring facility in the province. The agency presently operates a weather station in Barangay Albagan in Tampakan town.

Earlier this month, the provincial government installed an AWS at the provincial capitol compound in Koronadal City.

The provincial government received the AWS package through an initiative facilitated by the League of Provinces of the Philippines and supported by the Union Bank, Aboitiz Power and Weather Philippines Foundation.

Citing initial discussions with PAGASA personnel, Lorca said the agency is initially planning to install the AWS in Banga town.

But he said they recommended that the new AWS should be installed instead either in the municipalities of Lake Sebu or T’boli, which hosts the headwaters of the critical Allah River.

He said it is important for the province to have an AWS installed in the upland areas so it could properly monitor the rainfall levels there and the volume of water that runs from upland river and tributaries down to the lowlands.

“It will allow us to monitor potentials flashfloods and make the necessary warning to communities and residents in the downstream or lowlands areas,” Lorca said.

The AWS is a stand-alone device that measures rainfall and collects other weather information and transmits them in real time to a web-based server, a project briefer said.

It said the device, which was based on a technology developed by a company based in Switzerland, mainly senses, measures, and transmits meteorological data of weather conditions.

It has the capacity to capture atmospheric and meteorological data such as rainfall, wind speed and direction, humidity, and temperature, it added.

Lorca said the data gathered by the AWS would be automatically transmitted to a central server maintained by PAGASA.

He said they will then be processed by the PAGASA station based in this city and would be disseminated through its website. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)