Weather forecast a click away with Noah websiteBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Thanks to the Department of Science and Technology’s Noah website, online users can now find out the probability of rain and flood in any area, as well as how hot the day could get, by logging on to noah.dost.gov.ph.
The DOST’s Noah program stands for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, an interactive online platform that gives users immediate access to data on rain probability, flood forecast and temperature readings.
“If you are going to play golf and want to know the weather on a given day, you can already access that information online,” Science Secretary Mario Montejo said. “You will know the approximate time it will rain, how long it will rain, and how heavy the rain will be,” he added.
The online weather tracking tool is one component of the government’s holistic disaster mitigation program and marks the first time that the weather bureau has placed data from its radars, weather stations, rain gauges and flood forecasting models in the hands of the public.
The Noah website features a click-on map of the Philippines that users can explore to know their desired data at a given time. Based on Google Maps, the interactive weather map could show users data on rain, flood and temperature forecast using a set of drop-down menus on the site.
Users can click on weather outlook to know the chance of rain, check out the flood maps to see the flood history of an area from five to 100 years ago, or explore the site menu further to find out the location of weather stations and rain gauges around the country .
Montejo said that the weather outlook tool is perhaps the most relevant feature on the site as it could tell users the percentage chance of rain in their location in the next one, three or six hours. The accuracy improves as the time before the projected rain shortens, he added.
In the case of thunderstorms, which are harder to predict, we promise that the forecast (could) be of 50-percent accuracy four hours before, 60-percent accuracy three hours before, 70-percent accuracy two hours before and 80-percent accuracy an hour before,” said the science chief.
On the other hand, forecast in the case of typhoons could be more accurate, Montejo said, as such weather systems have a more traceable eye enroute to the Philippine area of responsibility.
Touted as the “most advanced disaster mitigation” system that the government has implemented yet, Project Noah hopes to boost the country’s flood-warning program as well by installing new water level sensors in 14 major river systems and enhancing four existing ones.
On the priority list are rivers in Marikina, Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan cities, Bicol, Pangasinan and Pampanga provinces, where water level sensors would be installed in July. Some 12 more would be in place by the end of the year and the remaining six installed in 2013, Montejo said.
The project also hopes to create a 3D map of the Philippines that would feature a detailed topography to simulate possible flood scenarios.
“You could also use it to simulate what would happen if you release water from dams,” Montejo said.
Hopefully, the DOST chief said, the weather bureau could issue localized forecast in specific areas through Project Noah. Currently, the DOST has 82 local forecasters across the country.
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