Inside Page | Fernan A. Gianan:

PAGASA feeling loss of Doppler facility

Despite its negligible effect on the island, Tropical Depression “Amang” showed PAGASA how the loss of its Doppler radar station in Buenavista, Bato has severely affected its weather forecasting capability in this part of the country.

Based on “all available data,” the agency initially said the disturbance made landfall in Panganiban town but later issued a new track showing the storm hitting land in Baras, crossing straight through San Miguel and the northern part of San Andres.

At the Maqueda channel, it then went down to the sea between Catanduanes and Rapu-Rapu, Albay, zigzagging before slowly making a beeline for Lagonoy, Camarines Sur.

During that period of several hours, PAGASA apparently was not able to pin down the storm’s exact location, something which it could have done with the help of the Buenavista Doppler radar.

More than two years after super typhoon Rolly’s 315-kph peak winds tore off the radome and destroyed even the basic weather observation devices at the station, the national government has yet to realize its rehabilitation, including the replacement of the vital radar equipment installed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) a decade earlier.

Initially, the problem was the availability of funds for the Philippine government’s counterpart for a new JICA grant.

Now, we don’t know for sure the status of PAGASA’s request for Doppler rehab although we are certain its officials are doing their best.

They know that replacing the destroyed equipment in Catanduanes is vital in its job of forecasting the path of typhoons, especially since the Bicol-Eastern Visayas area is the frequent destination of super typhoons.

So, let us ask our honorable congressmen, partylist or otherwise, if they have ever asked PAGASA or its parent agency DOST, what they have done so far about Buenavista Doppler radar station.

TD Amang demonstrated the unpredictability of weather systems, something that the facility would again help address.

*****

Bo Rodulfo recently offered unsolicited advice for a more stable retirement program for government and private employees.

Under his proposal, an amount to be determined by the employee will be deducted by the employer every pay day and go directly to his retirement plan to be managed by a bank.

The employer-sponsored plan will be pre-tax, meaning it will only be taxed once withdrawn at retirement age.

Bo admits that while the forced-savings type will affect the finances of the employee, rule of thumb tells him the employee will eventually adjust on whatever amount will be left in his pay envelope.

Any comments?

*****

INSANE TIMING. A man is strolling past the mental hospital and suddenly remembers an important meeting.

Unfortunately, his watch has stopped, and he cannot tell if he is late or not.

Then, he notices a patient similarly strolling about within the hospital fence.

Calling out to the patient, the man says, “Pardon me, sir, but do you have the time?”

The patient calls back, “One moment!” and throws himself upon the ground, pulling out a short stick as he does.

He pushes the stick into the ground, and, pulling out a carpenter’s level, assures himself that the stick is vertical.

With a compass, the patient locates north and with a steel ruler, measures the precise length of the shadow cast by the stick.

Withdrawing a slide rule from his pocket, the patient calculates rapidly, then swiftly packs up all his tools and turns back to the pedestrian, saying, “It is now precisely 3:29 pm, provided today is August 16th, which I believe it is.”

The man can’t help but be impressed by this demonstration and sets his watch accordingly.

Before he leaves, he says to the patient, “That was really quite remarkable, but tell me, what do you do on a cloudy day, or at night, when the stick casts no shadow?”

The patient shrugs and says, “I suppose I’d just look at my watch.”

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