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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Nobody has the expertise on weather

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“Pagasa sought hi-tech radars 54 typhoons ago,” said a page one story in the Philippine Star last Saturday. The high-tech radar referred to in the story is the Doppler radar, an instrument that can measure the intensity and volume of rainfall.

The thrust of the story, quoting so-called weather experts, is that had the government heeded calls to buy Doppler radars years ago, the weather experts could have accurately foreseen the ravages of storm Ondoy and forewarned people in advance.

So, do we need Doppler radars? The answer, of course, goes without saying. We need anything that can at least mitigate the effects of typhoons which visit us more than two dozen times a year. If Doppler radars can help, we should acquire them at the soonest time.

But will Doppler radars, or any other high-tech meteorological equipment save us from the ravages of storms? The answer is a big fat no. Nothing will save us from the ravages of storms. In fact nothing will save people anywhere in the world from the ravages of nature.

We cannot even be sure about mitigation because mitigation is something relative. To say that had we acquired Doppler radars earlier the ravages of Ondoy could have been mitigated is to spit into the wind.

In fact, the false promise of mitigation can be more dangerous, especially to people like Filipinos who are notorious for taking chances. False promises can lull people into a false sense of security.

Doppler radars no doubt can measure the intensity and volume of rainfall. But they cannot tell with precision the direction of a storm. Had Ondoy first headed for Northern Luzon and then made a sudden veer to the left toward Metro Manila, we would still be where we are.

This country has had many painful experiences related to the unpredicability of the weather. Ships sail and sink because they have been told the coast was clear, until the weather changed course and made things miserable for everyone.

Again, we are not against the acquisition of high-tech weather equipment. But let us buy them and just shut up. We can blame government for any other matter except the weather. When it comes to the weather, any finger-pointing is useless and ridiculous.

DOPPLER

HAD ONDOY

IF DOPPLER

METRO MANILA

NORTHERN LUZON

ONDOY

PAGASA

PHILIPPINE STAR

RADARS

RAVAGES

WEATHER

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