Understanding Flood Alerts

With the southwestern monsoon unleashing its wrath and water in the Philippines for about 26 hours straight, I’ve been reading a lot of flood alerts in my Twitter feed.

I appreciate these alerts, but the problem is, I don’t really know what it means.  Somehow, it became color coded, versus the usual signal numbers we get when there’s a storm.  So I looked it up for future reference (should have done this sooner, I know).

Now this is real color coding!  Not that color coding scheme our cars follow.  That’s more like number coding.  Bwahaha.

Moving on, here’s a more detailed explanation from Usec. Manuel L Quezon III:

Under the heavy rainfall warning system, a yellow warning is raised when the expected rainfall amount is between 7.5 mm to 15 mm within one hour and likely to continue.

Communities given this advisory are advised to be aware of the weather condition and warned that flooding may be possible in low-lying areas.

The green alert is raised in areas where rainfall is between 15 mm to 30 mm within one hour. Flooding is a definite threat in communities under the green alert.

A red alert is issued when downpours constitute an emergency. This is raised when observed rainfall is more than 30 mm within one hour or if rainfall has continued for the past three hours and is more than 65 mm.

When Pagasa raises a Red warning, communities should be prepared to respond. It means serious flooding is seen and that residents should be ready to evacuate to safety.

Another good monitoring tool is Project NOAH.  The Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) is

a program launched by the DOST to put in place a responsive program for disaster prevention and mitigation, using advanced technology to enhance current geo-hazard vulnerability maps.

So to check your location’s flood reference, just head on over to noah.dost.gov.ph.  It can still use a lot of improvement, but it has been helpful recently.

There you go.  So far, the sun is shining, everyone is conducting relief drives left and right, and from how things sound and look like, the Philippines is ready to get up again.

Like always.  Like a Boss.

UPDATE:  I know it’s pretty late but as of August 8, 2012, PAG-ASA has changed the color GREEN to ORANGE.  Apparently, there has been some confusion with the color grading.  Makes sense.  Yellow-Green-Red doesn’t really sound like something is worsening.  Yellow-Orange-Red, oh yes.  Hope this helps!

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