THE Weather Philippines Foundation Inc. (WPFI) distributed yesterday 10 automated weather stations (AWS), which can provide localized weather updates every hour for communities in Cebu.
The WPFI turned over the AWS and trained the municipal disaster risk reduction and management officers (MDRRMO), public information officers, administrators and mayors on the installation of the AWS and how to use the Weather Philippines website.
The WPFI was founded by the Aboitiz Group and Unionbank in partnership with MeteoGroup, a leading European weather services organization.
The foundation aims to deploy 1,000 AWS nationwide.
The local government units that received the AWS yesterday are Alcoy, Daanbantayan, Dumanjug, San Francisco, Madridejos, Malabuyoc, Santander, San Remegio, Tuburan and Bogo City.
In a press statement, WPFI said it wants to “complement the government’s efforts in reducing weather-related disaster risks in the country, enabling timely response to variable weather conditions to avoid loss of life and property.”
Through the AWS, the local communities will “understand the basic concepts, processes and effects of different weather disturbances and rain-producing weather systems” so they can plan and make their own disaster preparedness programs to reduce the impact of incoming disasters.
Celso Caballero III, general manager of WPFI, said the AWS can measure solar radiation, wind direction and speed, temperature, pressure, humidity and rain or precipitation.
Caballero said the AWS was made by Lufft from Germany.
Each AWS costs $2,500 to $3,000 (about P108,000 to P130,700 (at yesterday’s exchange rate).
WPFI is providing this system to the LGUs for free.
As of June 30, a total of 478 AWS were deployed to different areas in the country.
WPFI hopes to distribute 1,000 AWS by the end of the year.
Caballero said they chose the 10 LGUs in Cebu to receive the system because these towns were included in the “priority meteorological sites.”
“We are not charging government for anything. This is our project. We are giving this for free and for nation-building through disaster resilience,” Caballero said.
He said each LGU’s commitment is just the maintenance and security of the AWS.
Alvin Tobias, operation and maintenance supervisor of WPFI, said the AWS is composed of an anemometer and rain gauge. The anemometer measures wind speed and direction, air pressure and humidity, while the rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall.
He advised LGUs to place the AWS in an area where there is no obstruction, like on the roof.
Tobias said they will ask each LGU to take a picture of the area where they plan to place the equipment and to describe the location, then, submit the photos to them so that they will know if the area is right.
He explained that the AWS’ data logger, which has a SIM card, will transmit the data to the server through SMS or GPRS.
The server will collect and process the data, then, the results will be reflected in the WPFI’s website, www.weather.com.ph.
Caballero said they earlier distributed AWS in Cebu City, Talisay City, SM City Cebu and Consolacion and in Barangay Buanoy in Balamban.
WFPI plans to launch a Weather Philippines mobile application in partnership with iAcademy by September, said Caballero.
However, Tobias said the AWS are still owned by the WPFI, which signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with each LGU that received the system.
Caballero said they also prepared a proposed MOU with the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) to help the latter with weather updates.
“Our vision is not to compete with Pagasa,” he said.
Alcoy Mayor Nic Delos Santos thanked the foundation for choosing their municipality as one of the recipients. “We commit that we will protect, maintain and clean (the AWS),” delos Santos said.
San Francisco Mayor Aly Arquillano said the equipment will be a big help to the four towns in Camotes, as it will add to their information on weather updates.
Other mayors who attended the turnover and training were Celestino Martinez Jr. of Bogo City, Salvador dela Fuente of Madridejos and Augusto Corro of Daanbantayan.