The local Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Puerto Princesa City needs to have its own Doppler weather surveillance radar for rain forecasting to warn residents on time.

PAGASA chief Sonny Pajarilla said the city does not have a Doppler weather radar instrument and only relies on surveillance readings from stations in Busuanga in northern Palawan and Quezon in the south.

Pajarilla said he is looking forward that Puerto Princesa will have its own Doppler radar since Busuanga cannot sometimes accurately record weather readings due to its distance.

However, he said they have not requested for the instrument to be supplied by their central office because they have to wait for the rainy season this year to verify their observation.

“Noon pa man sinasabi ko ng hindi aabutin ang Puerto Princesa ng radar from Busuanga, malayo iyon para sa tinatawag na effective range para sa rainfall tracking,” he said.

Pajarilla said that the radar installed in Busuanga can track high cloud columns, but it cannot effectively record the range of rain until Puerto Princesa.

He said the Doppler radar in the municipality can only record up to a distance of 120 kilometers.

“Ang maximum range ng Doppler radar is 480 kilometers, puwede ‘yan mag-track ng bagyo. Pero pagdating sa effective range sa rainfall forecasting, dapat nasa maximum ng 240 kilometers ‘yan. Most effective talaga dyan is 120 kilometers, so ang Busuanga ay napakalayo,” he said.

Compared to Busuanga, the Doppler installed in Quezon can reach the city and give accurate readings. However, it is located on the west coast and is blocked by mountains.

Pajarilla said the city government can help the local PAGASA in justifying to its central office the need for another Doppler radar, this time, to be installed in Puerto Princesa.

He said it is not going to be easy due to the presence of the two Dopplers the province already has and because their budget is limited.

“Sa aming mga meeting, nasabi ko na ‘yan na kapag talagang maulan sa siyudad ng Puerto Princesa, wala tayo magiging rainfall warning n’yan na maibibigay kasi hindi ‘yan kita ng Doppler radars,” he said.

“Sinasabi nga natin sa local PDRRMC (Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) at CDRRMC (City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) na sila mismo ay magko-complement doon. Tayo, sinabi ko na ‘yan sa aming mga meetings dahil there have been cases na umuulan, pero hindi ma-track ng Quezon,” Pajarilla added.

He said the Doppler radar in Quezon can only track rains only up to Bahile and Sabang areas and those located on the west coast. It could not track areas on the east coast facing the Sulu Sea.