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RP's new Doppler operational next year

- Ghio Ong, Helen Flores -

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) announced yesterday that the country’s first brand new Doppler radar, which provides detailed weather information including the amount of rainfall, will finally be fully operational by early next year.

Administrator Prisco Nilo said the US-based Enterprise Electronics Corp. (EEC), a leading manufacturer of meteorological radars, would deliver the Doppler radar this year.

The radar, which will allow the agency to make more accurate forecasts, including the amount of rainfall, will be installed in Subic, Zambales in the first quarter of 2010 and will cover the entire Central Luzon, Pangasinan and Metro Manila.

The EEC, based in Alabama, won the bidding for Pagasa’s five Doppler radars project funded by the government.

Without the Doppler radars, the weather bureau failed to make an accurate forecast on rainfall when tropical storms “Ondoy” (Ketsana) and “Pepeng” (Parma) struck the Philippines and dumped a record volume of rain that claimed the lives of over a thousand people and destroyed property worth about P38 billion.

Nilo said the Doppler radar would enhance the bureau’s typhoon forecasting and rainfall prediction capabilities.

Pagasa officials earlier said a Doppler radar costs around P100 million.

Meanwhile, officials of Pagasa, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) yesterday signed a P1.7-billion grant agreement for the installation of three Doppler radars in Virac, Cantanduanes; Aparri, Cagayan and Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

Nilo said the project aims to effectively prevent damage that tropical cyclones and other severe weather phenomena may cause.

Pagasa said the country is visited by an average of 20 tropical cyclones a year. Tropical cyclones account for 92.5 percent of the total damage from natural disasters annually.

Nilo said JICA would immediately start the bidding process for the three radars in Japan.

“The bidding is expected to start in December. The bidding process in Japan is faster than in the Philippines, it will take only a month,” Nilo told reporters.

He said one of the three JICA-funded radars would be installed in Virac by December 2010.

Nilo stressed that the radars will significantly help the country’s early warning system.

The weather bureau is targeting at least 10 Doppler radars to cover the entire Philippines.

Pagasa will also install Doppler radars in Tagaytay City, Baguio City, Baler, Aurora, Mactan, Cebu, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and Tampakan, South Cotabato. 

The bureau is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and has been receiving grants from foreign countries for the past several years for its modernization programs.

Aside from the Japan, the bureau has also received financial and technological assistance from the United States, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea.  

ADMINISTRATOR PRISCO NILO

BAGUIO CITY

CAGAYAN AND GUIUAN

CENTRAL LUZON

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

DOPPLER

EASTERN SAMAR

ENTERPRISE ELECTRONICS CORP

NILO

PAGASA

RADARS

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