Forecasts prove central to Megi preparations

Wednesday 20th Oct 2010 by theWeather Club

Typhoon Megi is gathering strength and heading towards southern China, after leaving 200,000 Filipinos homeless. The severe storm left a trail of destruction in its wake after hitting the northern Philippines on Monday. President Benigno Aquino praised his administration's response to Typhoon Megi. He said that the thorough preparations had helped minimise loss of life. He also said that by forward planning and accurate weather predictions, government agencies had been able to make a real difference to the level of destruction wrought by Typhoon Megi.

Before the storm, thousands of people were moved from low-lying areas, to avoid flash floods and landslides. Evacuation centres were stocked with food and medicines, and the weather bureau gave hourly radio updates about the path of the storm. Physical destruction has nonetheless been extensive - thousands of homes flattened, crops destroyed and roads and bridges damaged.

But of course surviving the storm is not the end of the story as Faustino Dy, governor of Isabela, the hardest-hit province, explained: "The food supply there is only up to Sunday. But going there is very difficult. There is no road to reach them."

The weather bureau has emerged with credit from the situation with its predictions being central to life saving preparations. This is in stark contrast with the situation earlier this year, when it was heavily criticised for failing to predict that a typhoon would hit Manila, leaving the capital completely unprepared. It seems lessons learned from that from that failure have promptly paid dividends, far more promptly than anyone would have wanted.