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xx - Storms may hit Bohol any time of the year - Philippine Laws
Storms may hit Bohol any time of the year
« on: November 27, 2007, 07:32:17 PM »
By Joe Espiritu
Columnist
Bohol Sunday Post

At press time, people of the Bicol provinces are waiting for the typhoon code named Mina to hit their area. Authorities are taking precautions, transferring residents from accident-prone areas to places of safety. Calamity funds are prepared to be released by local and national governments to ease the travails of the affected people. Since science at this time has no way of averting climatic disasters like typhoons, all we can do is limit the damage.

Tropical storms are sometimes called cyclones, just like those that hit Caribbeans, and the Southern States of the US facing the Gulf of Mexico. In the East, we call it typhoon, a corruption of two Chinese words tai fung meaning Big Wind.

Whatever names it carry, the blow is most of the time destructive, those, which center winds hit more than fifty kilometers per hour. The gusts come harder. The rains that storms carry would add to the devastation.

The Philippine typhoon season sometimes starts early, sometimes as early as May. In the early days many people, especially the fishermen are caught unawares.

Some of them were lost at sea, the lucky ones blown to some distant island. Only radio operators of ships monitor weather forecasts. When weather reports became the feature of radio broadcasts, people know the general conditions of the climate but not of the locality. Those who are trying for the badly needed daily income, take the risks.

From the month of June, the storms pass Northern Philippines. The Batanes group of islands is frequently hit. As the months pass, the storms start to slam into the lower latitudes, starting from Northern, then Central and later Southern Luzon.

Bohol typhoon season starts September and ends on December. However, freak storms may hit Bohol any time of the year.

The reason for this is that when the sun passes the Equator during the vernal equinox, the storms are born in Central Pacific. Because of the Coriolis effect of the earth rotation, the general flow of the storm unless influenced by barometric conditions, is from southeast to northwest. The further is the birth of storm from the Philippines, the more northern is its path. As the perpendicular rays of the sun travels north, storms are born nearer and nearer the Philippines.

The hardest and most frequently hit are the provinces that face the Pacific, from the Batanes, Isabela, Quezon, Bicol and Easrtern Visayan Provinces. Those are the provinces, which would need accurate weather information. We in Bohol seldom experience strong winds. If storms are formed around 10 degrees latitude, the wind is most likely to hit Bohol. However, we cannot always be complacent. Years ago several storms hit Southern Bohol.

Most advanced countries have weather satellites. Some of them maintain geo synchronous satellites, which hover directly above their country. Information from those satellites gives hour-to-hour information of the path of the storm.

Sometimes they even fly weather planes into the eye of the storm to measure the strength and direction of the center winds. Unfortunately, we do not have those facilities.

Those who manned PAGASA Mactan failed to forecast the typhoon Lando's path accurately that some places in Cebu had been hard hit. The storm veered from its predicted route. Although their information came from a weather satellite, the information was not up to date. This only goes to show that storm directions are unpredictable. To maintain a sophisticated weather warning system would be expensive. However, despite their most sophisticated equipment cyclones had devastated Florida and Louisiana. This means to say we can only predict not prevent storm damage.

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