Rain, rain, go away…

Into each life, some rain must fall.

This idiom, made into a duet in 1944 by The Ink Spots featuring Bill Kenny, and Ella Fitzgerald, means that  bad or unfortunate things will happen to everyone at some time.

For more than a month now, enough rain has fallen on our island, a volume that would surely drown Metro Manila in Ondoy-like flooding.

But like the weather in other parts of the country, not all of the 11 towns experience the same depressing lack of sunshine.

While Virac and San Andres seem to have been spared the almost daily downpours, the other towns are suffering from excess precipitation.

Just how much rain has been falling on the island?

Unfortunately, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA) can only give you the data from the Virac Synoptic Station in San Isidro Village.

Alas, a comparison of the past month’s rainfall in Virac and in Bato would not be possible.

According to senior weather forecaster and officer-in-charge Juan Pantino Jr., most, if not all, of the basic weather observation equipment at the Doppler radar station in Buenavista, Bato such as the anemometer, wind vane, pressure sensor, thermometer, hygrometer, and rain gauge, were damaged beyond repair during super typhoon Rolly in November 2020.

At present, PAGASA relies on one Automatic Weather Station (AWS) in Virac for observations of local weather data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, atmospheric pressure and solar radiation.

It is unfortunate that the public, especially local officials of towns outside Virac, would not be able to rely on more accurate weather observations that would guide them in the decision to suspend classes.

It makes one wonder if the weather equipment installed in each of the 11 municipalities is still working.

If they are, the concerned authorities should find out how they can get the data generated by the instruments.

The suspension of classes is not a simple matter, done by chief executives to save parents the worry of sending their children to school in bad weather with the possibility of getting sick.

As most public school teachers point out, not all class suspensions are appropriate as half the time, the weather clears one or two hours later.

This, they said, is a waste of valuable time that both teachers and their pupils have to recover by holding weekend classes to comply with the set number of class days.

The effect on the local economy is also considerable, as public transportation and businesses will suffer from the lack of riders and customers.

Surely, the government, particularly PAGASA, should be able to think of ways to localize weather observations and predictions so that local chief executives would not be relying too much on online websites of foreign weather observers to make crucial decisions such as suspension of classes.

If they can’t make the rain go away, at least they should be able to say exactly when we should stay home or use umbrellas in going about our daily lives.

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