Iloilo’s first automated weather station installed; 9 more coming

Climate change brings with it unpredictable weather patterns and stronger typhoons, thus disaster preparedness is very important if one wants to prevent the loss of lives.

One solution is an automated weather station (AWS).  An AWS is an automated kind of traditional weather station that records weather conditions, wind speed and direction, air temperature, rainfall and humidity, among others.

Shell Philippines and Manila Observatory, with the support of Smart Communications will operate 50 of these in the country, with 10 located in the province of Iloilo.

Their Iloilo locations are Shell’s gasoline stations in Brgy. San Rafael in Mandurriao, Brgy. Tagbak, Lapuz Depot, Villa, all in Iloilo City; Passi, Poblacion Ilawod in Lambunao, Aquino Nobleza Street in Janiuay, Brgy. Bolong Oeste in Sta. Barbara and Pavia.

Shell will provide the location, its shell stations; Manila Observatory will provide the weather and climate analysis of the data gathered from the AWS network while connectivity of the data transmission will be provided by Smart. The data will be used by the local government units in their disaster preparedness and resiliency efforts.

Manila Observatory Executive Director Tony Loyzaga said that this partnership aims to provide coastal cities with access to weather and climate analysis and help them in their disaster preparedness efforts.

The 150-year-old Manila Observatory engages in research on remove sensing and ground-based environmental observation and monitoring; climate change, variability and extremes; disaster risk and sustainable development; and public health and human vulnerability.

Debbie Tan, head of Investor Relations and Group Enterprise Risk Management of Smart Communications, revealed that the collaboration started in the year 2013. “What we are launching today is that,” she said during the project’s launching ceremony held last May 27, 2015 at the Shell station in Brgy. Rafael where the first AWS was also installed.

“We in Smart know too well the effects of climate change – damaged infrastructure. At Smart, we have embraced disaster preparedness as a way of life,” she added.

Iloilo City’s Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog welcomed this initiative on climate change resilience because “with an automated weather station, data would be available to everyone through the internet, thus we would know our situation. We are always threatened (by disasters) and AWS can prepare us,” he said.

He revealed that the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (ICDRRMO) will have a building in Brgy. Dungon A in Jaro district. He said that if an AWS will also be placed there, it would be more advantageous. Because of this, Shell pledged to donate another AWS to the command center.

After Iloilo City, Shell will install automated weather stations in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao.

The first AWS was installed in Shell's Pandacan depot in August 2014. (Marie Katherine Villalon)


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