Weather is no longer a mundane topic people use to make small talk. Nowadays, news about the weather makes Filipinos straighten up and listen because of the countless ways it impacts their lives. This is precisely what inspires PAGASA Weather Specialist Ariel Rojas when he delivers the forecast—with his eyes alert and his hand sweeping across the graphics-generated Philippine map.
“I’ve always been curious about the weather. I was born and raised in Bicol where it always rains and tropical cyclones always visit,” he shares. His journey toward weather forecasting began when he took up B.S. Meteorology in UP Diliman’s graduate school under a PAGASA scholarship. In 2017, he began working in PAGASA, and had since been trained here and abroad, allowing him to gain new knowledge and techniques in weather forecasting.
Rojas regularly appears on Panahon TV to deliver the weather forecast, but with Panahon TV’s first free webinar, Intro to Philippine Weather, he’ll get to share more of his knowledge. We sat down with him to delve deeper into his childhood passion.
What are your current duties in PAGASA?
My main duties include analyzing weather data, maps, and models to formulate weather forecasts, and presenting the forecast product to the public through PAGASA’s online platforms and interviews with media outlets. I also conduct lectures on weather forecasting or other weather-related topics to media practitioners and students.
Do you think it’s important for Filipinos to have basic weather knowledge?
Yes, it is! The Philippines is the most tropical cyclone-visited country in the world! That alone should be enough reason. We are also an agricultural nation so many farmers depend on the rain. Our economic, agricultural, and other daily activities are informed by the state of the atmosphere so basic weather knowledge is a must for everyone.
If there’s one thing you’d like every Filipino to know about weather forecasting, what would it be?
That weather presenting is only the tip of the iceberg. Forecasters analyze weather data, maps, and models to come up with the final forecast and all of these take time. Tropical cyclone events require more time and harder analyses.
How do you feel about being part of the Panahon TV webinars?
I always look forward to joining Panahon TV activities because they’re fun and I learn a lot. I feel honored to have been invited to take part in this webinar. I am also trying to further hone my communication skills so this would be a great platform for that.
What do you hope participants will take away from your workshop?
I hope that they will carry with them whatever little nugget of weather knowledge they can take away from the workshop. We basically experience the same weather patterns every year so just knowing when these patterns change can greatly help them in their decision-making, even the most mundane ones like choosing which clothes to wear or when to book an out of town trip.
To join Panahon TV’s free webinar Intro to Philippine Weather with Ariel Rojas on June 2, 2020 at 2:00 p.m., register at https://bit.ly/3d70vTk .
Storm-free start for August
After a week of consecutive weather disturbances, the country welcomes August storm-free.
According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza, Tropical Storm Huaning is now outside the Philippine Areas of Responsibility (PAR). After making landfall in mainland China, it has weakened into a Low Pressure Area.
However, a tropical cyclone outside PAR continues to enhance the Southwest Monsoon. At 4:00 AM, Typhoon Noru was at 1,760 kilometers east-northeast of Basco, Batanes. It has maximum winds of 170 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of 210 kph. It is not expected to enter PAR but is causing the Southwest Monsoon to affect the western section of Northern and Central Luzon.
Today, cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will be experienced in the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera and the provinces of Zambales and Bataan. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms will prevail in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
As Habagat prevails, a gale warning is in effect in the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon including Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, and the northern coasts of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte.
AUGUST OVERVIEW: 2-4 Tropical Cyclones Ahead
This month, weather systems associated with rainy weather will still prevail. These include:
Intertropical Convergence Zone – refers to an area in the atmosphere where clouds are formed from the convergence of winds coming the northern and southern hemispheres. It can be a breeding ground of weather disturbances.
Low Pressure Area – an area in the atmosphere with a lower atmospheric pressure than its surroundings. Low pressure areas could usually develop into a tropical cyclone.
Tropical Cyclone – The general term for a cyclone or bagyo, this weather disturbance is classified into four depending on its maximum sustained winds: tropical depression, tropical storm, typhoon and super typhoon.
Southwest Monsoon – characterized by warm and moist air, the southwest monsoon or Habagat speeds up cloud formation. Once enhanced by a tropical cyclone, the Habagat can bring heavy downpour, which may cause floods in the western section of the country.
Ridge of High Pressure Area – an extended part of an anti-cyclone that suppresses cloud formation, causing lesser chance of rains or fair weather condition.
Localized Thunderstorms – During warm days, heat speeds up evaporation and creates more clouds, which may dump moderate to heavy rains. Thunderstorms usually occur in the afternoon or evening, and last for one to two hours.
Two to four tropical cyclones are expected to develop within or enter PAR, which can hit or miss the country’s landmass.
Warm Wednesday and Monsoon Break
In the midst of the Rainy Season, generally fair and warm weather is expected with the presence of the Ridge of a High Pressure Area (HPA) today.
“Ridge” refers to the extended part of an HPA or an anticyclone. Unlike a Low Pressure Area, this indicates an area where the atmospheric pressure is higher than its surroundings. Formation of clouds is usually suppressed, thus, less chance of rains. As it extends across Luzon, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail in Metro Manila and the rest of the country only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
In an interview with PanahonTV, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Robert Badrina said that the country is on a monsoon break.
Badrina also said that the country will experience a storm-free week.
Potential LPA spotted
A possible weather disturbance was spotted in Mindanao today.
Based on an interview with PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza, the possible Low Pressure Area (LPA) is embedded along the Intertropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ.
“Ang nakapaloob dito sa ating Intertropical Convergence Zone ay mga maliliit na vortices ng Low Pressure Area at posible itong panggalingan nga ng sama ng panahon.” (Embedded within the Intertropical Convergence Zone are small vortices of Low Pressure Area, which may develop into a weather disturbance.)
Considered to be a breeding ground of weather disturbances, the ITCZ refers to the area where winds from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet and create interaction. Meanwhile, vertices are mass of whirling air that may develop into weather disturbances.
Today, Mindanao and Eastern Visayas will continue to experience light to moderate rains and thunderstorms this Thursday. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
ITCZ soaks parts of Mindanao
The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) continues to affect Southern Mindanao.
ITCZ is characterized as an area where winds coming from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet; this interaction results to rains in the affected areas.
As this weather system prevails, cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will be experienced in Mindanao today. Rains have been affecting the region since last week, prompting the cancellation of classes and declaration of State of Calamity in Kabuntalan and other areas in Maguindanao due to widespread flooding.
Light to moderate rains will also affect the regions of Central Visayas and Negros Island. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
Moderate rains continue in Palawan
The Southwest Monsoon, locally known as Habagat continues to affect the eastern section of Luzon.
As this weather system prevails, Palawan will continue to experience light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
With rains concentrated in Palawan, humid weather is still expected to prevail in most parts of the country.
Get to Know Habagat
Every year, when the rainy season begins, Habagat begins to affect the country. Due to its warm and moist characteristics, Habagat causes monsoon rains that could last for a couple of days or even a week. Here are things you must know about this weather system:
Light to moderate rains in Palawan
On the first Saturday of June, the Southwest Monsoon, which is warm and moist air locally known as Habagat is still affecting the western section of Luzon.
As this weather system prevails, cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms will be experienced in the province of Palawan. In Metro Manila and the rest of the country, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms will prevail.
While the Habagat dumps rains on some parts of Luzon, residents are alerted against heavy rains, which may trigger flash floods and landslides. It can be recalled that five persons perished in a landslide that occurred in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan last Monday night. According to reports, the victims were composed of a family of four and an infant.
Photos courtesy of Brigada News FM Palawan.
However, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza clarified that there is no weather disturbance affecting the country.
Frontal system and Habagat bring rains to Luzon
Rains will prevail in most parts of Luzon on the last Sunday of May 2017.
According to PAGASA, the Frontal System is affecting the extreme Northern Luzon, while the Southwest Monsoon dominates the western section of Northern and Central Luzon. Frontal System refers to the boundary of two different air masses. Once this weather system becomes dominant in an area, it will generate convective clouds which will bring thunderstorms. Southwest Monsoon is defined as warm and moist winds moving in a southwest direction. Due to these characteristics, Habagat can cause monsoon rains that can last for a couple of days or even a week
As these weather systems prevail today, Ilocos Region, Cordillera and Batanes will experience moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms. Residents of these areas are alerted against flash floods and landslides. In Central Luzon and the rest of Cagayan Valley, light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will be experienced. For the rest of Luzon, down to Visayas and Mindanao, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will prevail, only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
While the present Habagat is categorized as weak, this, along with the Frontal System, has brought significant rainfall to some areas in Luzon. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Gener Quitlong, last week’s top three highest rainfall were recorded in these areas;
Batanes – 232 millimeters (mm) of rain in 24 hours – May 26, 2017
Calapan – 75.2 mm of rain in 24 hours – May 25, 2017
Casiguran – 76.2 mm of rain in 24 hours – May 24, 2017
This weekend, remember to bring your umbrellas as you make your “huling hirit sa tag-init,” because the prevailing Southwest Monsoon or Habagat brings possibilities of rains. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Loriedin dela Cruz, the habagat is in effect in the western section of Luzon and Visayas.
With its warm and moist characteristics, the habagat will bring cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms to the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera, MIMAROPA, CALABARZON, Bicol, Western Visayas and the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Zambales and Bataan. In the remaining parts of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies prevails only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
Photo courtesy of Nelson M. Velasco, Daraga, Albay
Dela Cruz adds that no weather disturbance is expected to affect the country in the next two days.