MANILA — The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) launched on Wednesday the modified Public Storm Warning System (PSWS).
“Typhoons as strong as Super Typhoons with more than 220 kilometres per hour (kph) of sustained winds in the country is becoming more frequent,” said PAGASA Acting Director Dr. Vicente Malano during the launching held at the PAGASA Science Garden, Quezon City.
Finding the four-level PSWS inadequate, PAGASA adopted the Super Typhoon category and this is based on the Typhoon Damage Scale from the study of former PAGASA Director Dr. Leoncio Amadore.
Malano said the tropical cyclone categories are: Tropical Depression (TD) with 30-60 kph winds; Tropical Storm (TS) with 61-120 kph winds; Severe Tropical Storm (STS) with 121-170 kph winds; Typhoon (TY) with 171-220 kph winds; and Super Typhoon (STY) with more than 220 kph winds.
“Through the prefixes before the name of the tropical cyclone, we would know how strong it will be,” PAGASA weather division chief Dr. Esperanza Cayanan explained.
Also, the modified PSWS features 5 warning signals: Signal # 1 may cause no damage to very light damage; Signal # 2 may cause light to moderate damage; Signal # 3 may cause moderate to heavy damage; Signal # 4 may cause heavy to very heavy damage and Signal # 5 may cause Very heavy to widespread damage.
Aside from the expected sea condition, damages to structures and vegetation, the modified PSWS also included storm surge advisories.
“We are also adjusting to the needs of our people,” Cayanan said,
“It may be redundant, but it’s better to give too much warning than to give less,” she added.
Cayanan also said the new categories of tropical cyclones and warning system of the modified PSWS took effect in May 6 and 18, respectively and has been applied during the height of Typhoon “Dodong”.