‘Butchoy,’ ‘Buchoy’ or ‘Butsoy’…By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Butchoy’s international name sounds even odder—Guchol.
The second tropical storm to enter the Philippine area of responsiblity this year—officially called Butchoy—on Thursday swirled some 780 kilometers east of Eastern Samar but was not expected to make landfall in the Philippines.
Still, weather experts said Butchoy would enhance the southwest monsoon and its outer band could graze provinces in eastern Luzon.
Misspellings of the tropical storm’s name are not a big deal for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the country’s typhoon tracker
Pagasa Administrator Nathaniel Servando said he had seen the storm spelled as “Butsoy” and “Buchoy” in various media outlets but “I don’t see it as a problem.”
They all sound the same but the important thing is people should know what to expect from it, he said.
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that ditches the international names assigned by the World Meteorological Organization in favor of local names.
“This makes it easier for people to remember,” Servando explained.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Butchoy had intensified into a severe tropical storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour near the center and gusting at 120 kilometers per hour. It was traveling west northwest at 20 kph with a fairly large diameter of 300 km.
Officials warned Butchoy could strengthen into a typhoon, being still over the sea.
Pagasa has not raised any public storm warning signals anywhere in the Philippines.
“It’s moving west northwest right now. There’s no indication yet that it will move westward or that its center will make landfall,” Servando said, but he added: “While moving closer, its outerband could affect some provinces.”
Robert Sawi, Pagasa’s chief forecaster, said a high-pressure area in the western Pacific was blocking the storm from moving further northward.
“You can see it’s moving west. Once it weakens, it will recurve in 48 to 72 hours,” Sawi said.
But while Butchoy is not predicted to make landfall, it will help enhance the southwest monsoon and induce rains all over the country, Pagasa said. This will cover the Philippines with cloudy skies in the next three days.
As of 10 p.m. Thursday, Butchoy was estimated at 680 km east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. It is forecast to move west northwest at 15 kph. The forecast position is expected to be 450 km east of Borongan, Eastern Samar by Friday evening. It will be at 500 km east of Baler, Aurora by Saturday evening and by Sunday evening, it will be at 280 km east of Basco, Batanes.
The low-pressure area has brought heavy rains across Mindanao.
The storm’s estimated rainfall amount is from 15 to 25 mm per hour, Pagasa said.
Servando warned those living near the coasts, particularly in the Visayas, to be wary of strong winds and storm surges.
No longer female names
In the past, typhoon names were exclusively female nicknames ending in “ing.” This practice was halted in 2001, when Pagasa used new names for cyclones that included nicknames of males and foreign-sounding names, such as “Ulysses.”
Pagasa has four sets of tropical storm names containing 25 entries arranged alphabetically. In case the number of tropical storms within a year exceeds 25, Pagasa assigns names from an auxiliary list that contains 10 entries.
The weather bureau usually “retires” certain names, specially if they are associated with typhoons that killed over 300 people and destroyed over P1 billion worth of property.
Storm names that will never be used again are “Milenyo” and “Ondoy.”
From the way it whirls right now, it doesn’t seem like Butchoy will join their company.