Pagasa: Temp normal but humidity’s high

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013


IF YOU feel hot these days, blame humidity, not temperature.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the average temperature in the country is 31 degrees Celsius but the air feels warm due to high humidity.

Meanwhile, Al Quiblat of Pagasa revealed that the weather bureau’s weather surveillance radar in Guiuan, Samar and in Madridejos, Cebu were damaged during super typhoon Yolanda.

Nedz Saletrero, a Pagasa Mactan weather specialist, said the country has a relative humidity of up to 84 percent.

Vapor

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Relative humidity refers to the amount of water vapor actually present in the air divided by the amount of water vapor the air can hold.

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Air Resources Laboratory states warm air has more water vapor than cooler air.

The higher the relative humidity—expressed in percentages—the harder it is for sweat to evaporate, so people feel hotter than the actual temperature.

Sweating is the human body’s way to keep cool.

Armando Danag, another Pagasa weather specialist, said humidity remained high because cold winds that usually come at the end of the year have not penetrated the Philippines.

Cooler

The Siberian winds usually enter the Philippines from December to February, making nights cooler than those during summer months.

Quiblat said the radars, donated by Japan International Cooperation Agency, were used to gather data on Yolanda because they can tell the exact location of a typhoon.

“Radar is very important in accurate forecasting. You can't rely on satellite, especially that the accuracy of the forecast will depend on the data gathered. It can also be used for thunderstorm and lightning warnings,” he said.

The radars were designed to withstand gusts of up to 270 kilometers per hour (kph) but Yolanda packed winds of more than 300 kph.

The Madridejos radar alone cost P30,000.

Quiblat also said Pagasa’s weather forecast would become more accurate with the installation of five new weather radars between now and 2015.

He said Pagasa has 10 existing radars all over the country.

The new radars will be installed in Iloilo, Busuanga, Zamboanga and Basco town in Batanes and Palawan.

Speaking during a media briefing, Quiblat said each radar costs about P70 million.

Installing radars in mountain areas would cost an additional P40 million because Pagasa would have to construct an access road to the facility.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 11, 2013.

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