The Philippine Microsatellite (PHL Microsat) Program released on Tuesday an image of Typhoon Tisoy as seen from space as it barreled towards Bicol.
The photograph, taken by Filipino-made microsatellite Diwata-2, shows a large mass of swirling air and water, with the eye of the storm distinctly seen.
“Diwata-2 maintains a watchful eye as the country braces for Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri). The satellite’s Wide Field Camera (WFC) captured an image of the storm as it approached Bicol region at 12:58:47 PHT on December 2, 2019,” PHL-Microsat posted on its blog on Tuesday.
The post said that at the time the image was taken, the typhoon clocked maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 185 kph.
“Seen in this image is the eye of the typhoon, which is roughly 200 km away from Gubat, Sorsogon where the typhoon made landfall at around 11 pm on the same day,” it said.
Diwata-2 marked its first year in space last October. Since its deployment, it has helped monitor the Philippines from space, including the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
Monitoring of weather disturbances is among applications of the satellite, which can also serve as a communication device in the event of emergencies and disasters.
As an Earth-observing microsatellite, Diwata-2 is equipped with cameras such as the WFC which can be used to capture images of cloud patterns and typhoons. It will continue to monitor Tisoy as it moves across Luzon and leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).
The Philippine government has been beefing up its capability to produce locally-made satellites to bolster its space research and to cut down on the cost of subscribing to satellite services of other countries.
As of Tuesday 1 p.m., the eye of Typhoon Tisoy was located in Baco, Oriental Mindoro. It has maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 195 kph.
Initially forecast to strengthen into a super typhoon (maximum wind speed exceeding 220 kph), Typhoon Tisoy has since slowed down but has caused extensive damage across the Philippines.
Power has been cut off in many provinces while winds and flooding left a number of structures in Bicol region severely damaged.
Hundreds of thousands of people had to be evacuated while thousands of passengers remain stranded in ports. Many local government units also declared the suspension of classes and work.
Signal #3 remains up in the southern portion of Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna.
The typhoon is expected to reach 335 kilometers west of Subic, Zambales by Wednesday morning as it exits the Philippine area of responsibility. It is expected to leave PAR Thursday morning.