Doppler radar at San Andres to detect rogue waves at sea
posted 17-Sep-2018  ·  
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Sea travel across the Maqueda channel especially during the rough “ber” months will be a lot safer once the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) completes a coastal radar facility to be built soon in San Andres town.

According to PAGASA Virac officer-in-charge Juan Pantino Jr., the contractor of the High Frequency Doppler Radar (HFDR) facility is now applying for the required building permit with the local government prior to the start of actual construction.

Initially funded with P180 million several years ago, the establishment of the nationwide network of high-frequency radars for the remote sensing observation of coastal sea state aims to measure the ocean wave height, wave direction and speed, ocean current and sea surface temperature using state-of-the-art

HF radar-based signal. The network can also monitor weaker tropical disturbances.

The weather agency said this network will also forecast internal ocean weather, including a better knowledge and understanding of episodic waves, also known as rogue waves, that pose risks to domestic shipping. Marine observations and forecasts will also improve, with the project subsequently enhancing the capability of PAGASA forecasters, it added.

It cited the frequency of various incidents at sea from fishermen getting lost at sea due to motor failure and inclement weather to wide-ranging disasters such as storm surges and ship accidents due to powerful typhoon-driven waves

“Accurate marine forecasts will contribute to a better disaster preparedness and hazard mitigation both at sea and along coastal communities,” it emphasized.

Under the PAGASA Modernization Act, several coastal radars have already been installed along the nautical highway that connect the three main islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao where many ferry boats and small sea vessels are plying.

In the mainland province of Albay across Maqueda channel, the construction of such a radar suffered delay after PAGASA was forced to abandon the initial site within a school property in Tiwi due to many documentary requirements. The HFDR was relocated to a lot in Manilao town owned by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

In San Andres, the coastal radar facility, which would serve as an early-warning and monitoring system for disaster mitigation, would be built on a 36-square meter sea-side property at barangay Agojo bought by the municipal government.

Under the memorandum of agreement signed months ago by Mayor Peter Cua and PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano, PAGASA will supervise the operation and maintenance of the HFDR and conduct lectures, training and demonstration for the benefit of the community.

Aside from providing the lot, the LGU will designate a caretaker who will be responsible for the physical maintenance and cleanliness of the area, designate a technical staff who will be trained by PAGASA-DOST to download, analyze and manage the database as well as closely coordinate with the agency regarding the calibration and instrumentation issues and maintenance.

It will also provide free lodging and accommodations for PAGASA technical staff who will conduct the lectures, trainings, briefings and demonstrations, and ensure the safety, security and protection of the HFDR and other equipment provided and installed by PAGASA against any unlawful act of pilferage, vandalism and the like.

The provisions of the agreement were reviewed by the Sangguniang Bayan led by Vice Mayor Greg Salvador, with the resolution granting authority to Mayor Cua to enter into the MOA approved as early as December 2017.

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