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PAGASA sheds light on allegations over wrong forecast, late warnings for TD Usman

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 1/16/2019 Dalangin-Fernandez, Lira
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PAGASA responded on Wednesday to some allegations over inaccurate rainfall forecast and late warnings for Tropical Depression Usman which claimed over a hundred lives last December, mostly in the Bicol region.

The state weather bureau acknowledged that the rainfall measurements that geologist Mahar Lagmay used in his analysis was correct and was in line with PAGASA's hourly rainfall intensity classification.

However, PAGASA said that a different scale was used in its rainfall forecast for Usman.

"PAGASA defines moderate and heavy rainfall in its Severe Weather Bulletins (SWBs) as 24-hour (daily) accumulated rainfall of 60 to 180 mm and more than 180 mm, respectively," it said in an official statement.

"The forecasts for 28 – 29 December 2018 indicated the 'forecast 24-hour accumulated rainfall' of moderate to heavy, which would trigger flooding, and landslides," it added.

Furthermore, PAGASA said it that has verified the amount of observed accumulated rainfall in the Bicol region to be within the categories it has forecasted.

Aside from the Severe Weather Bulletins, PAGASA noted that the agency's regional office also released color-coded Heavy Rainfall Warnings every three hours in the Bicol region.

The weather bureau also said that it has ensured that the warnings on the possibility of flooding and landslides due to prolonged heavy rainfall were properly disseminated to the concerned local and national disaster managers.

On claims that the public did not expect too much rainfall because only Signal No. 1 was raised, PAGASA reiterated a point which was earlier underscored by Lagmay.

"Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal System, which has been in effect since 1930s, is based solely on expected winds and its impacts over a locality, and has no relation with the accompanying rainfall of such tropical cyclone," PAGASA explained.

The state weather bureau assured the public that it will continue to deliver reliable information in pursuit of developing resilient communities. —LDF, GMA News

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