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War Against Philippine Radars, Part 2

Virac Radar Station (Malacañang Photo Bureau)
Virac Radar Station (Malacañang Photo Bureau)

The Philippines has never been a Christmas without a typhoon. And right now, RIGHT on the Christmas Day, Typhoon Nina (International codename: Nock-Ten) struck the Philippines, with its crosshairs over Manila.

It had grown into a powerful Category 4 Supertyphoon, with its strength comparable to that of Typhoon Glenda and others. It is also one of the recordbreakers, being formed late unto the season (and what I think today is La Niña, or it is so?)

Last October, Typhoon Lawin, internationally named Haima, pummeled through Cagayan area. Fortunately, the Aparri Radar in Cagayan survived the onslaught, most likely due to the typhoon’s circulation being disrupted by the Cordillera and Sierra Madre mountains.

I don’t know if Virac Radar had survived.

The Virac radar station in Catanduanes province sent its last image to Manila office on 6:15 pm. Since then, there’s not a word from the station.

The storm made landfall in the island-province, and we are receiving reports of roofs ripping apart and broadcast antenna towers being snapped off.

Last radar image of Virac Radar, from meteopilipinas.gov.ph. Timestamped at 6:15 pm.
Last radar image of Virac Radar, from meteopilipinas.gov.ph. Timestamped at 6:15 pm.

Perhaps we must be patient: I tried to contact every person available but they mentioned not a word about the state of our Radar systems. And honestly, I am doubting if the Duterte government is willing to fund PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) for its modernization and to replace damaged equipment such as radars.

The Basco radar station, wrecked by Typhoon Ferdie (Meranti), is yet to be replaced. The Guiuan radar station which was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013 is back in operation since last year.

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