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 .
A possible tropical cyclone was spotted outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Based on PAGASA’s 5:00 AM Weather Forecast, the Low Pressure Area (PAR) was spotted east of Mindanao.
In an interview with Panahon TV, Weather Forecaster Samuel Duran said that the LPA may enter PAR today and may develop into a tropical cyclone. The weather disturbance may cross areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Due to the advancing clouds or trough of the LPA, the Davao Region and Soccsksargen will have cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms. As the Northeast Monsoon prevails in the Northern Luzon, the regions of Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains. In the rest of the country including Metro Manila, partly cloudy to cloudy skies will be experienced with isolated rain showers.
A weather disturbance is still being monitored by PAGASA within the Philippine premises. The Low Pressure Area (LPA) was last spotted at 500 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora. Despite its slim chance of developing into a Tropical Cyclone, its cloudiness extends over the archipelago.
The entire Visayas and Mindanao, as well Bicol Region and MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) will experience cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms. Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with chances of isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
On the other hand, the Southwest Monsoon or Hanging Habagat is no longer dominant within the PAR, but this doesn’t mean that the Habagat season has ended. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Robert “Obet” Badrina, we are not in the transition period yet. Badrina noted that the Habagat can still return. The transition of wind patterns usually occurs in October. However, the public is still advised to monitor further development including the arrival of the Amihan season.
PAGASA’s Astronomical Diary shows that the Autumnal Equinox will occur on September 23, 2017 at around 4:03 AM. Derived from the latin word aequus, which means equal, and nox meaning night, the equinox refers to the time of the year where day and night are of approximately equal duration.
Badrina said this astronomical event will not have a significant effect on our weather aside from causing longer nights in the Philippines. Since longer nights equate to shorter exposure to sunlight, colder weather may gradually begin especially when Amihan becomes dominant.
“Kiko”, the 11th tropical cyclone that developed within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and the first for the month of September, was last located at 345 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora. Classified as a Tropical Depression, it has maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of 65 kph.
Moving west-northwest at 15 kph, Kiko is expected to cross Extreme Northern Luzon tomorrow morning and may exit the PAR by evening. As of 8:00 AM today, Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 1 is still up over Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands.
Due to the Tropical Depression, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands will experience rains with gusty winds. Cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains with thunderstorms will affect Isabela, Quirino, Aurora, Abra and Kalinga.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon and Western Visayas will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and possible thunderstorms. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers will prevail in the rest of the archipelago.
PAGASA did not issue a gale warning but noted that sea travel is risky int he eastern seaboard of Northern and Central Luzon. Coastal waters in these areas will be moderate to rough.
According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza, the prevailing weather systems expected this month include Tropical Cyclones, the Low Pressure Area (LPA) and Hanging Habagat. These will bring rains and thunderstorms in the affected areas.
Mendoza added that the ridge of High Pressure Area (HPA) may also affect the country, mostly during the absence of a weather disturbance. This will bring fair weather with a very slim chance of rain.
LPA may develop into a Tropical Depression
A Low Pressure Area (LPA) still persists within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
At 3:00 AM today, the LPA was at 95 kilometers north-northwest of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Robert Badrina, the LPA may continue to intensify and develop into a Tropical Depression within the next 24 hours. If this happens, the country’s 11th Tropical Cyclone this year will be named “Kiko.”
As the LPA prevails, Ilocos Region, Batanes and the Babuyan group of Islands will have moderate to occasionally heavy rains, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides. Metro Manila, Cordillera, Central Luzon, the rest of Cagayan Valley, Mindoro, Cavite, and Batangas will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms. The rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies except for isolated light to occasionally heavy rains due to thunderstorms.
Question of the Day
As the “ber” months set in, Panahon TV Facebook follower Ryan Edward Sol asked: “Should we expect the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan to prevail next month?”
According to Badrina, the Southwest Monsoon or Habagat is still expected to prevail until October. Badrina noted that the Amihan begins in November and will be felt in Metro Manila starting December until February.
After bringing rains in Bicol Region, portions of Visayas and Mindanao, Tropical Depression Bising has weakened into a Low Pressure Area (LPA).
At 4:00 AM today, the LPA was estimated at 725 kilometers east of Juban, Sorsogon. In the next hours it will still bring cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms in Eastern Visayas, Caraga and the province of Palawan.
Meanwhile, the Northeast Monsoon in Northern and Central Luzon will cause cloudy skies with light rains in Cagayan Valley. In Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains will prevail. Generally fair weather will be experienced in the rest of Visayas and Mindanao only with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
PAGASA earlier explained that Bising recurved due to the strong wind shear near the Philippines, pushing tropical cyclones away from the landmass.
Strong to gale force winds associated with the surge of the Northeast Monsoon are also bringing rough to very rough seas in these provinces:
An average of 18 to 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) yearly. This number is more than enough to cause devastation in different parts of the country.
As the national weather bureau, PAGASA duly informs and warns the Filipino people against every weather disturbance that may affect the country. Together with the Office of Civil Defense and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), information and disaster preparedness drives are implemented.
But during the onslaught of a tropical cyclone, people tend to focus on the losses it has caused, and rarely talk about its benefits.
Here’s are some reasons why storms are essential to our survival:
They fill up our reservoirs. In a tropical country like the Philippines, a large portion of the annual rain comes from cyclones. Though these are dubbed as “weather disturbances,” cyclones don’t only get rid of pollutants in the atmosphere, but also give us our much-needed water supply. In fact, studies shows that 25% of the water supplies in India and Southeast Asia come from rain showers brought by cyclones. Regions that are facing dry and drought conditions can benefit from cyclones. Increased rainfall enables the ground to hold more moisture that is conducive to crops.
They keep our bodies of water healthy. Rain showers help river systems flush out silt. According to National Geographic, silt is made up of rock and minerals that are bigger than clay but smaller than sand, that are worn away by water or ice. Silts are fine sediment that gathers at the bottoms of river, streams and lakes. These can be a rich source of nutrients for fish, however it can be presented by unnatural process. Build up of silts introduced by industry can be harmful as it contains chemicals.
Another advantage of rains is they inundate areas where fish can breed, thus increasing the number of fish. Cyclones can also help circulate nutrients from the seafloor, boosting ocean productivity.
They balance the global temperature. Cyclones move towards the poles, thus balancing the earth’s temperature by pushing warm tropical away from the equator. It is said that the poles will get a lot colder, and the tropics would get a lot hotter if there were no tropical cyclones.
The “ber” months are in! But before you start playing Christmas carols and putting together your holiday shopping list, know what to expect this month, weather-wise.
Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)
The ITCZ is an area in the atmosphere where winds from the Southern and Northern Hemispheres meet—a convergence that contributes to cloud formation. According to PAGASA, the axis of ITCZ is erratic so it may affect any part of the country, usually bringing cloudy skies and light to moderate rain showers.
Although PAGASA Weather Forecaster Chris Perez explains that September is usually the time of the year when the southwest monsoon is nearing its termination period, this weather system can still come to play this month. The southwest monsoon, locally known as “habagat”, is composed of warm and moist air that comes from the southwest direction. It causes monsoon rains or moderate to heavy rain showers that could last for days or a week. Know more about habagat through this article.
Low Pressure Area (LPA)
The LPA is an area that has lower atmospheric pressure than its surrounding locations. This is usually formed in the Pacific Ocean where most water vapor is available. LPA brings light to moderate and sometimes heavy rain showers. This could also intensify into a tropical cyclone.
Tropical cyclones are the general term for bagyo, and are classified into four: Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm, Typhoon and Super Typhoon.
In September, an average of 3 to 4 tropical cyclones are expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). Based on the forecast track, most of the cyclones will affect Central and Northern Luzon.
In September 2014, three cyclones entered the Philippine boundary:
Typhoon Luis, with the international name Kalmaegi, made landfall in Northern Luzon. Almost 8,000 individuals were affected and displaced in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, as well as the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region (NCR).
Tropical Storm Mario
Tropical storm Mario (internationally known as Fung-Wong) made landfall in the northern tip of Cagayan. The combined effect of Mario and the southwest monsoon caused heavy rains in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.
More than 2 million individuals were affected in the 27 provinces of Regions I, II, III, IV-B, V, VII, CAR and NCR. 18 dead and 16 injured were reported as Mario left the Philippine Area of responsibility (PAR).
Tropical Depression Karding
Tropical depression Karding was first spotted as a low pressure area near Iba, Zambales. Karding did not make any landfall; however, it brought moderate to heavy rain showers in the western part of Luzon.
So don’t forget to arm yourselves with umbrellas and raincoats because according to PAGASA, there will be 22 days of rain this month. Minimum temperature is pegged at 24 degrees Celsius while the maximum is at 31.6 degrees Celsius.
As Typhoon Hanna crosses Taiwan, it slightly weakens. Now, with maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 185 kph, it is expected to move northwest at 20 kph.
Based on the latest data of PAGASA, Hanna was located at 415 kilometers north-northwest of Itbayat, Batanes. PAGASA Weather Forecaster Aldczar Aurelio says that if it maintains speed and direction, it is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this afternoon, between 3:00 to 5:00 PM. Once it exits our boundary, it will head towards the southern part of China.
Though Hanna gradually makes its path away from the country, storm signals are still up over the extreme Northern Luzon.
Areas under storm signals are still alerted against stormy weather brought by the typhoon. Meanwhile, Hanna continues to enhance the southwest monsoon or “habagat,” which will dump rains over Western Visayas, Mindoro, Ilocos Norte and Apayao. Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms are expected over Zamboanga Peninsula, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon and Visayas. The rest of Mindanao will have a generally fair weather aside from possible isolated thunderstorms.
Due to habagat, sea conditions remain rough to very rough over the seaboards of Luzon, Panay Island, and Visayas and Mindanao. All fishing boats and other small seacraft are still prohibited to travel as wave height could reach 4.5 meters.
Aurelio says that in the coming days, the effect of habagat will be concentrated over Luzon, while areas in Visayas and Mindanao will experience improved weather conditions.
On the other hand, the tropical cyclone outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) intensifies into a tropical storm, now being called “Molave.” According to Aurelio, it is expected to move north, thus, has a slim chance of entering our boundary.
This August, 2 to 4 tropical cyclones are expected to prevail in the PAR.