As early as 3pm last Friday, I've been battered by warnings of super typhoon codename "Megi" entering the Philippines area of responsibility. After experiencing Ondoy last year, I must admit that I joined the bandwagon and forwarded the warning to my office e-group, posted on FB (right) and texted my loved ones to prepare.
Well, it's Monday and the weekend was bright and sunny. Alas, I heeded the warning and cancelled diving in Anilao thinking that the waves will be choppy.
PAGASA short for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has forever been criticized for errors in storm predictions. In fact, this prompted PNoy last Augsut to dismiss then-PAGASA administrator Dr. Prisco Nilo, for failure to warn residents of Typhoon Basyang (international codename "Conson") on July 14. The typhoon claimed 8 lives, left more than 3,000 stranded at ports nationwide and found Luzon with no electricity .
I know that its better to be safe than sorry but I must say that PAGASA over did it. At 3pm last Friday, I received this warning: "Megi is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility around midnight or early Saturday morning. International weather models indicate that it will continue to gain strength as it remains over water and may possibly reach "super typhoon" strength within 24 to 48 hours. PAGASA advised the general public and local disaster risk reduction managers to prepare and take precautionary measures."
Sad to say that Gai was right for commenting on my FB post that ""if PAGASA predicted it, chances of wreaking that kind of havoc... are next to nil." Even Kane tweeted yesterday "Told you tweeps. Pag OA ang PAG-ASA sa warnings at forecast, hindi darating ang ulan, bagyo, at baha."
For weather warnings and advisories, I will now be referring to more reliable weather sites like the Japan Metropolitan Agency. The storm's path is detailed day-by-day including it's intensity, center position, direction, wind speed and gustiness. As of 6pm tonight, the site says that the storm's intensity is indeed 'very strong' and is heading west southwest at 25 kph towards South China Sea and will be outside the Philippines by tomorrow.
As I type the wind is now howling scarily and the rain pounding. "Megi" dubbed locally as super typhoon Juan has weakened and slowed down and is now in Manila. It has unfortunately left Isabela, a province north of Manila, under a state of calamity. Yesterday, it was declared storm signal number "four" in the area, the ultimate public storm signal warning issued by PAGASA. I do hope that the provinces were well prepared for super typhoon Juan because of the early warnings. I, on the other hand, must be cautious in heeding warnings lest I want to cancel another weekend or make my 81-year old mom worry unnecessarily.