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Pagasa installs rain gauges on Smart cell sites

/ 08:46 AM November 12, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has started installing more than 70 automatic rain gauges at the cell sites of Smart Communications Inc. across the country.

The solar-powered rain gauges will use Smart’s SMS solutions and nationwide network coverage to transmit rainfall data to the weather bureau’s head office.

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“Rainfall data monitoring is very crucial in the operation of all meteorological services like Pagasa all over the world,” Pagasa Administrator Nathaniel Servando said.

The data gathered are used in the formulation of weather and flood forecasting and warnings as well as in Pagasa researches supporting the operational forecasting services, “resulting in saved lives, livelihood, properties and infrastructure,” he said.

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In 2010, Smart and other service providers entered into an agreement with Pagasa to allow the installation of its weather monitoring devices in strategically located cell sites under a program of the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation to help upgrade the flood forecasting system.

The automatic rain gauge is designed to catch rainfall through a tipping bucket mechanism that measures and logs water content and automatically sends the data to Pagasa’s database in the central office.

The project is a component of Smart’s programs “to help improve the country’s weather forecasting and warning systems through the use of our technologies,” said Public Affairs head Ramon Isberto.

He said Smart was considering upscaling the weather monitoring and disaster alert system that it had developed with Ateneo de Davao.

Nationwide installation

“The system now operates in the Davao region and we intend to replicate the technology for use all over the country,” Isberto said.

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Pagasa’s automated rain gauges have been installed in Smart cell sites in the provinces of Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Zambales, Cavite, Batangas, Quezon, Mindoro, Sorsogon, Bohol, Camarines Norte, Northern Samar, Marinduque, Negros Occidental, Leyte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Sarangani and Biliran.

Installation is expected to be completed before yearend.

Last year, Pagasa and Smart installed an automatic rain gauge in Montalban, Rizal, to improve monitoring of rainfall and flood forecasting system in the area devastated by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009.

Smart has also been spearheading Project Rain Gauge, in which students from various schools are trained to monitor and send rainfall data via manual rain gauges.

TOPICS: Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Pagasa, Philippine Atmospheric, Science and technology, Smart Communications Inc.
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