MANILA, Philippines -- Weather bureau PAGASA has changed a color associated with its rainfall warning system, amid criticisms that it was confusing for citizens.
Green, originally used to signify a second-level alert (15-30mm rainfall observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next 3 hours), has been changed to orange, effective Thursday, August 9, 2012. This, according to Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo on DZMM, is because people associate green with “go,” or safety.
The warnings are now as follows:
- YELLOW: 7.5-15 millimeters (heavy) rain observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next 2 or 3 hours
- ORANGE: 15-30 millimeters (intense) rain observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next 2 or 3 hours
- RED: More than 30 millimeters (torrential) rain observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next 2 or 3 hours
“The rainfall warning levels are now YELLOW, ORANGE, RED; the colors associated with awareness, preparedness and emergency,” PAGASA said on its website.
The advised responses for each color warning will depend on the area, Montejo said. Evacuation may be necessary even if a red warning has not yet been issued, if the area floods easily.
“Depende ito sa lugar. Baka resilient naman ang lugar. Ang ibang lugar na mataas, kahit gaano kalakas ang ulan, hindi naman talaga sila babahain. Iyong iba naman ay vulnerable,” he said.
“Balak namin ngayon, isusunod namin ay magma-mapping kami,” Montejo said. They will see at what volume of rain an area will become flooded, and will ask authorities to act based on the warning. This is because some areas can become dangerous even at only a yellow-level rainfall warning.
“Ilalagay po iyan sa database namin, para matukoy na ang isang lugar, kapag umabot ng 15mm threshold, delikado na, babaha iyan. Pero sa tingin ko ay sa red, aabutan talaga [ng baha].” -- with a report from DZMM