The office of the Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Bohol asks for patience from the media and the public, as the local weather bureau plays hard to get as it is quite challenging to get the latest weather updates.
PAGASA’s Leonardo Samar said the location of the PAGASA’s office in Barangay Dao is to blame for the inability of communications to go through.
The media have been complaining about the inability to get the weather bureau on the phone especially during flagship news and current affairs program on radio and inquiries from newspaper reporters.
Samar said his office has been having a hard time getting a phone connection from any of the carriers, much more an Internet connection. The cellphone signal in their area, he said, is far from favorable. These are the reasons why it is quite challenging for people to get in touch with their office especially when there is a weather disturbance brewing.
The public and the media are having a problem contacting the weather bureau when getting updates. The updates are critical especially for parents whether they would allow their children to go to school amid the unfavorable weather.
As a result, media have to resort to public individuals and other weather forecasting agencies for updates broadcast for local consumption.
Media entities in Bohol resort in asking knowledgeable people on weather for updates. PAGASA may be the state weather bureau, but with the local media unable to contact the local personnel, there is no other recourse for the media but to seek other sources of information.
Samar said there is nothing wrong with getting information elsewhere as long as it is aligned with the data the weather bureau has.
Although the weather bureau is contemplating the action on other entities providing weather news and information.
By law, it is the PAGASA that is tasked to provide official data and information about meteorological circumstances.
He is hopeful once the New Bohol Airport will be completed, the weather bureau expects to have an office there. Having a new office might improve the communication lines, which is the answer to the connection woes between the weather bureau, the media, and the general public.
A Doppler radar center is being constructed in Alburquerque town. The radar will make Bohol PAGASA capable of providing localized weather forecasts for the benefit of residents.
Doppler radars are used in predicting weather and used by meteorological agencies around the world.
This radar is using the Doppler effect to produce speed data about distant objects. Doppler radars work by bouncing a microwave signal off a target and measures the movement based on the return signal.
As of the moment, generalized forecasts are being given to the public by way of social media and originates from the regional or national office.
The local focal person for PAGASA was invited during Friday’s Kita ug ang Gobernador media forum where he shared the status of the weather about Tropical Storm Urduja.
He gave updates on the storm’s movement and impact to Bohol.
However, the weather bureau issued updated information and forecast on the typhoon, and the prognosis went worse for Bohol.
Public Storm Signal number 1 was hoisted over northern Bohol as of late afternoon yesterday.
Tropical cyclone Urduja packs sustained winds of 30-60 kph, or intermittent rains may be expected within 36 hours.
PAGASA lifted the storm signal over northern Bohol on Friday, only to re-instate the signal yesterday afternoon.
As of yesterday afternoon, the center of tropical storm Urduja was estimated, based on all available data, in the vicinity of San Policarpio, Eastern Samar.
The storm’s strength is about 80 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness up to 110 kilometers per hour.
The weather bureau estimates the storm to move westward with a speed of 15 kilometers per hour.
By Monday morning, the storm is expected about 145 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and will be out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Wednesday morning.
Bohol is among the alert areas which included Marinduque, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Southern Leyte, Dinagat Islands, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro and Negros Oriental.
Oscar Tabada of PAGASA in Cebu was quoted a stronger storm is expected in the next few days, probably by Christmas.
Tabada was quoted by ABS-CBN news, a typhoon which may carry the name “Vinta,” will hit parts of the Visayas, probably including Bohol, by Christmas Day.
The prognosis for the typhoon may be bleak. Tabada was quoted Vinta may be stronger than Urduja.
Early afternoon, an advisory from the Telephone and Radio System Integrated Emergency Response’s (TaRSIER) Facebook page said there had been a suspension of voyage among vessels except Jagna to Cagayan trips based on the advice of the Philippine Coast Guard in Tagbilaran. (Dave Albarado)