Pagasa denies claims of UP Noah head on ‘Usman’ ‘wrong forecasts’
MANILA, Philippines — The state weather bureau has denied the claims of an official from the University of the Philippines Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (UP Noah) that the agency allegedly issued “wrong forecasts and late warnings” on Tropical Depression “Usman.”
UP Noah Executive Director Mahar Lagmay said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (Pagasa)’s forecast on “Usman” caused a number of deaths due to landslides and flooding specifically in the Bicol region.
UP Noah was formed at the University of the Philippines to conduct research, development and extension services on natural hazards, disaster risk reduction and climate change actions.
Lagmay added that Pagasa reported a moderate to heavy rainfall forecast in Bicol last Dec. 28 and 29, 2018 instead of intense and torrential rainfall.
Pagasa Administrator Vicente Malano, however, said the weather bureau defined moderate to heavy rainfall in its Severe Weather Bulletins as “24-hour daily accumulated rainfall of 6- to 180 mm and more than 180, respectively.”
Malano clarified that the Dec. 28 to 29 Pagasa weather forecasters “sufficiently warned” that the “24-hour accumulated rainfall of moderate to heavy could trigger massive flooding and landslides.”
Further, Malano said Pagasa provided “localized rainfall and thunderstorm warning in near-real time” through its Southern Luzon Pagasa Regional Services Division (SLPRSD).
The SLPRSD in Legazpi City issued “separate color-coded Heavy Rainfall Warnings (HRWs) which stressed that there was an immediate threat of floods and landslides indicative of emergency actions.”
Malano also explained that although the weather bureau downgraded TD “Usman” into a Low-Pressure Area (LPA) upon landfall, Pagasa and the SLPRSD reiterated their warnings of flooding and landslides due to moderate to heavy rainfall.
Malano then advised concerned sectors to be more careful in the issuance of statements that may damage the credibility of Pagasa. /muf
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