THE WEATHER bureau has adopted the “super” storm category in a bid to improve disaster preparedness.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) will use the “super typhoon” category for storms with maximum winds exceeding 220 kilometers per hour (km/h).

Chris Perez, a weather forecaster at Pagasa, said the news media had referred to strong typhoons such as “Haiyan” (local name “Yolanda”) as “super typhoons,” but these were not official designations.

“Some of them were not necessarily ‘super typhoons,’” Perez said. “It was the media who started this [trend], not Pagasa.”

Perez said the new storm category could help visualize the extent of a typhoon’s outcome and prompt residents in affected areas to evacuate if necessary.

“The problem with disasters is that some people are really stubborn, so they don’t listen to the authorities,” he said. “We can’t help it that some people would want to go back for other purposes, such as to protect their livelihood, [but] with [this] new category, we could at least give them a view of what could happen.”

This is the fourth category after tropical depressions (maximum winds of 63 km/h), tropical storms (64km/h up to 118km/h of maximum winds), and typhoons (118 km/h of maximum winds and higher).

In 2015, super typhoons “Lando” (“Koppu”) and “Chedeng” (“Maysak”) were the first to be placed under the new category. Rhenn Anthony S. Taguiam


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