rain, typhoon, DOST, PAGASA, University of the Philippines, wind hazard
Suparerg Suksai/Pexels

Due to its geographical location, the Philippines is among the countries that are most prone to tropical cyclones, particularly in the second half of the year.  Based on the monthly tropical cyclone forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST PAGASA), we can expect up to 13 cyclones between now and the end of 2020.

Just in time for the rainy season’s arrival, researchers from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines Institute of Civil Engineering (UP-ICE) developed severe wind hazard maps for susceptible buildings in different parts of the archipelago.

Assessing severe wind hazard and risk

Researchers who were part of the Severe Wind Hazard and Risk Assessment for Cebu City program compiled information on exposure, vulnerability, and hazard levels of different types of buildings against strong wind. Funded by DOST and coordinating with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST PCIEERD), the researchers developed the database to provide crucial information that will improve the efficiency of local disaster response teams.

cyclone, JAMAcyclone, TCRM
The left image shows the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) tropical cyclone tracks from 1951 to 2018, while the right image shows the simulated tropical cyclone track for a 10,000-year return period using the Tropical Cyclone Risk Model (TCRM). (DOST)

PAGASA’s research team developed severe wind maps for 78 provinces and local wind hazard maps for 41 provinces, taking terrain and other local topographic factors into consideration. The team also developed a risk exposure database for 2,600 buildings in Cebu City. With this information, local chief executives can adequately prepare for the effects of strong winds in their area.

Event-based wind hazard regional hourly-simulation of Typhoon Kammuri (Tisoy). It can determine the individual wind swath of existing tropical cyclone wind events, showing the location of maximum wind where damage could be significant. Wind hazard levels vary considerably in the surrounding areas due to local terrain roughness, shielding due to upwind structures, and topographic factors. (DOST)

Meanwhile, UP-ICE’s researchers are working on a building vulnerability classification system. This will classify structures based on how susceptible they are to damage in the face of severe winds.

Mitigating the impact of local disasters

“We hope these hazard maps can equip our local disaster mitigation officers in preparing, planning, responding, and mitigating hazards that are brought about by strong winds of tropical cyclones,” said DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit. “As leader and partner in enabling innovations, we shall continue to provide solutions and opportunities that can help the Filipino people cope with the challenges of natural disasters.”

Paringit added that the severe wind hazard maps will soon be made available to LGUs for disaster preparedness and mitigation.

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Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco

Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.