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PAGASA: Don’t take a bath during thunderstorms

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – It’s rainy season, and thunderstorms are inevitable.

Thus, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) advises the public to refrain from going outdoor to avoid the hazards of thunderstorms especially the unpredictable lightning strikes.

According to PAGASA Weather Specialist Vivien Esquivel, lightning adds nitrogen to the soil which transforms into plant-usable mineral responsible for the green in plants.

However, this positive effect on the ground works differently when lightning strikes on the human body.

Recently, two boys from Barangay Patag Ilaya in the town of Sta. Elena died from a lightning strike.

According to reports, cousins Jimboy Magsino Lora and Jericho Compra Lora asked permission to go outside to look for a signal for their mobile phones.

The teenagers sat near a tree to play mobile games but lightning struck the tree and burned them. Even their mobile phones were destroyed due to the lightning strike.

According to Esquivel, lightning strikes at random.

“Minsan, nakikita nating umiilaw lang sa ulap. Ang tinatawag natin doon ay ‘cloud-to-cloud’ lightning. Mayroon naman tayong tinatawag na cloud to ground lightning. Iyon ang tumatama sa atin. Tumatama sa ground or anumang bagay na at random,” she explained.

(We see flash of lights up in the clouds. That’s what we call ‘cloud-to-cloud’ lightning. Also, there is what we call ‘cloud-to-ground’ lightning that which strikes humans, or the ground or just anything at random.)

“Kahit na nasa baba ka, kung talagang tatamaan ka ng kidlat ay matatamaan ka talaga kasi lightning strikes anywhere,” she added.

(Even if you’re on the ground, if lightning strikes you, that’s inevitable because lightning strikes anywhere.)

For this reason, PAGASA advises the public to take note of important measures to avoid the dangers of lightning strikes.

When outdoor:

  • Stay away from an open field and find an enclosed shelter immediately.
  • Remove all metal accessories from the body such as jewelry or watch.
  • Refrain from using your cellphone and do not attempt to look for signals.
  • When driving a car, pull over and sit straight. Do not touch anything metal inside the car like keys or metal handle.
  • If in case there is no safe place outdoors, do the ‘lightning safety crouch’. Position your feet next to each other, with the heels touching. Try to rest on the balls of your feet so you minimize the surface of the ground you’re touching.
  • Close your eyes and cover your ears.

When indoor:

  • Do not use corded telephone line or cellphones even inside the house. Cellphones may be used for emergency situations but refrain from doing so if possible.
  • Unplug all appliance and turn off all gadgets. Do not leave them on standby mode.
  • Avoid taking a bath or using the shower.
  • Avoid using taps or washing the dishes.

“Stay away from anything that are good conductor of electricity kapag may lightning activity lalo na kung frequent ang lightning strikes within your area (when there is lightning activity especially if lightning strikes are frequent in your area),” noted PAGASA Weather Forecaster Chris Perez.

“Huwag kayong pakatiwala na hindi overhead ang thunderstorm ay hindi na kayo tatamaan kasi nagta-travel po ang lightning (Do not be complacent. Thunderstorms may not be overhead but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t strike you. (Note that) lightning travels), ” warned Esquivel.

“So kahit 9 kilometers or 10 kilometers ang thunderstorm, huwag kayong magstay sa labas (So even if the distance of a thunderstorm is about 9km to 10 km away from you, do not stay outdoor). Make yourself the smallest target, ” she concluded. (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

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Heads up sky gazers! Partial lunar eclipse visible in PH early Wednesday

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Photo by Doug Walters on Unsplash

MANILA, Philippines – Astronomy enthusiasts in the country will get to see a partial lunar eclipse which will be visible on early Wednesday (July 17), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Based on Pagasa’s astronomical diary, the eclipse will begin at 2:42 a.m. and will end at 8:19 a.m., Philippine Standard Time (PhST).

The state weather bureau said the partial lunar eclipse will begin at 4:01 a.m. and will peak at 5:30 a.m. (PhST).

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth moves between the sun and the moon, but the three celestial bodies do not form a straight line in space. When this happens, only a small part of the moon’s surface is covered by the Earth’s shadow.

During a partial lunar eclipse, part of the moon can get a reddish hue.

Pagasa said the astronomical event will also be seen in Australia, Asia except for the northeastern part, Africa, Europe except N. Scandinavia and most of South America.

The state weather bureau said sky observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes as lunar eclipses are safe to watch.

The agency added that sky gazers may also use a binocular to help magnify the view and will make the moon’s red coloration brighter.

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Pagasa hoists signal no. 2 as “Falcon” intensifies into tropical storm

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Depression Falcon has intensified into a tropical storm, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on Tuesday.

In its weather bulletin issued at 5 p.m., Pagasa said the storm was last spotted at 335 kilometers east southeast of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

“Falcon” is moving west at the speed of 30 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph, the state weather bureau said.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 2 has been raised over Northeastern part of Cagayan, including Babuyan group of islands, while signal no. 1 is up in Batanes, rest of Cagayan, northern portion of Ilocos Norte, northern portion of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Isabela, eastern portion of Mountain Province and the eastern portion of Ifugao.

Signal no. 1 may also be raised over the northern portions of Aurora, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya and the rest of Abra, Mt. Province and Ifugao.

Pagasa expects moderate to heavy rains over Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Zambales, Occidental Mindoro, northern Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo islands, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo and Guimaras.

Light to moderate with at times heavy rains will be experienced over Metro Manila, CALABARZON, Bicol Region, and the rest of Visayas, Central Luzon, and MIMAROPA.

Between Wednesday and Thursday (July 18) afternoon, Pagasa said moderate to heavy rains may prevail over Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Cagayan Valley.

Meanwhile, light to moderate with at times heavy rains may prevail over the Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA.

The state weather bureau advises residents in the said regions, especially in flooding and landslide-prone areas, to take precautionary measures.

Sea travel is also risky over the seaboards of areas under TCWS alerts and the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Visayas.

Falcon is expected to closely approach or make landfall over Babuyan-Batanes Islands area Wednesday evening, and may exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday (19 July).

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Signal No. 1 raised over 3 provinces due to TD Falcon

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – State weather service PAGASA has raised cyclone warning signal No. 1 over Northern Isabela, Cagayan and Batanes on Tuesday (July 16) due to the effects of tropical depression Falcon.

This means winds of up to 60 kph may be expected in at least 36 hours or intermittent rains may be expected within 36 hours.

Residents in the affected areas are advised to take precautionary measures as landslides and flashfloods are possible due to scattered to widespread rains.

Meanwhile, cloudy skies and scattered rainshowers will affect Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon due to the southwest monsoon or habagat enhanced by the tropical depression.

Metro Manila residents especially in low lying areas are advised to prepare from flashfloods possible during severe thunderstorms.    

Monsoon rains, meanwhile, will be experienced in MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Masbate, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Northern Samar.

These areas will experience light to moderate with occasional heavy monsoon rains with possible landslides or flashfloods.

As of 4:00 a.m., TD Falcon was estimated at 690 km east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

It is moving west at 30 kph with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and gustiness of up to 65 kph.

Fisherfolks and those with small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signal #1 as well as the eastern seaboards of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

According to PAGASA, TD Falcon is less likely to make landfall but it may intensify into a tropical storm as it approaches extreme Northern Luzon tomorrow afternoon or evening.

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