Last Monday, July 12, 2010, I watched the news and the weather forecast said that a tropical depression “Basyang” was approaching the Philippines. It was not that strong and wasn’t a full-blown typhoon yet at that time. It was expected to make its landfall Tuesday evening. Since it wasn’t that strong, most people probably expected that it will just bring about a small amount of rainfall. However, many were astounded when “Basyang” (local name) entered the northern part of the Philippines, which is Luzon, and hit pretty hard.
I was at work at that time during one of our shifting schedules and as I went out of the office at midnight to take a break, I was shocked to see that there was indeed rainfall but it was coupled with really strong winds. Power supplies were cut and it was pitch black everywhere. I though that it was just a simple weather disturbance. My mom even sent me a text message and told me that power was already cut off at 11 PM. When we went home, there was complete darkness everywhere.
A lot of people were taken by surprise by the strength of the typhoon. The roads were littered with debris from street signs, trash, leaves and even small trees. Due to the intensity of the typhoon, there was widespread blackout and only a small percentage had electricity at around 6 AM. Unfortunately for us, our electricity came back 6 PM. So that was a 19-hour blackout.
I watched the news again last night when the lights came on, Wednesday July 14, 2010, and they mentioned in 24 Oras, Philippine channel 7 primetime news, that there may have been some lax in forecasting the weather.
One thing that is quite common during the typhoon was a lot people were traumatized about last year’s typhoon “Ondoy” due to the severe damage it brought to everyone including Metro Manila. President Noynoy Aquino scolded PAG-ASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), who forecasts the weather, and mentioned that this should not happen again. If they could have given proper advice and one that is on time, people could have prepared way better for this natural disaster. Too bad, there were still a couple of casualties.
Well, this is a lesson learned for everyone especially PAG-ASA. We do understand that we lack high-tech equipments to forecast weather disturbances more accurately, but it was already too late. But I’m sure they are doing what they can to provide more accurate forecasts. I also hope that next time, since the Philippines is usually hit by typhoons by this time of the year, better advice could be given to the public in order to prepare better. Typhoon “Basyang” is the first typhoon to hit the Philippines in this year’s typhoon/rainy season. As of the time of writing, typhoon “Basyang” is heading west away from the Philippines.
GMA Channel 7
24 Oras – Primetime news channel
PAGASA – DOST – DOST Service Institute