Adonis Manzan | September 6, 2018
With the recent weather systems passing by the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), we are yet again susceptible to different hazards brought by torrential rains and possible flooding. The wet season is definitely here, and here to stay!
If there is one thing to remember aside from disaster preparedness, it is understanding the dynamics of how these weather systems form and dissipate. This habagat season, WeatherPhilippines’ WeatherWiser team is here to walk you through it.
The Southwest Monsoon Wind
When we talk about monsoons, we refer to major wind systems that seasonally reverse wind orientations due to the difference between annual temperature trends over land and oceans. It blows from the colder regions of High-Pressure Areas (HPAs) toward the warmer regions of Low-Pressure Areas (LPAs). Monsoons are associated with the annual shift of wind patterns throughout the globe. They change gradually, according to the order of seasons. Called monsoon systems, they have an impact on a regional scale in terms of rainfall distribution, amount of moisture, and warm air that feed into developing tropical cyclones, which we normally refer to as “bagyo” in the Philippines. In concept, these monsoon clouds travel from vast oceans where the sea surface temperatures (SST) is warmer and more humid.
Why does the Southwest Monsoon, locally known as “habagat”, bring on-and-off moderate to heavy rains in a particular time and place? As they move from one place to another, they gather energy from the sea, where a build-up of clouds is certain to transport precipitation as opposed to a developing LPA to the east of the Philippines.
Preparedness and Survival Tips
Here are some helpful ways to avoid casualties or injuries during typhoon-related disasters:
- Emergency kits. Always make sure that your house has survival items stored and easily accessible when your family needs it. Generally, it should contain items such as a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries/power banks, drinking water, empty containers for water storage, infant needs (if you have a small child), sanitary supplies, and instant meals enough to last up to three days.
- Calamity plan. Create a general plan of what to do in case a calamity strikes, and brief your family about it. Inform them about places to go and items to bring in case there is a need to evacuate immediately.
- Secure important documents. Keep all your important documents in one secure place or a container that cannot be penetrated by water. Make sure that you can easily grab and bring this during times of disaster.
- Know your emergency numbers. Be knowledgeable about whom to contact during disasters. Keep a laminated list of these numbers and provide a copy to each family member.
- Track hazard warnings. Determine the typhoon warnings or rain alerts hoisted in your area. Downloading a weather mobile application (such as the WeatherPhilippines mobile app) that provides accurate and localized weather information is a great way to stay ahead of the weather.
While it is nearly impossible to predict other weather systems such as thunderstorms, staying weather-updated and #WeatherWiser during the habagat season will help you and your family anticipate and prepare for the possible impact of developing severe weather systems.
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