Ph’s local weather monitoring systems complemented by local tech in preparation for La Nina

by Ellon Labana

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Mapua University have recently launched a localized weather information and impact monitoring system to help the country prepare for the onslaught of the coming La Niña.

Developed by the Mapúa University School of Civil, Environmental, and Geological Engineering led by Dr. Francis Aldrine Uy, the technology will help augment the disaster risk reduction and management operations as the country braces for La Niña.

“We believe that scientific advancements are not just about immediate responses to natural hazards and consequent disasters; they are about creating long-term solutions that reduce risks and promote sustainable development. As we face increasing disaster risks, we must move beyond traditional approaches and embrace innovations that provide solutions and open opportunities for a better tomorrow,” said DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr.

WEHLO or Localized Weather, Environment, and Hydromet Monitoring System is among the funded technologies by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) under the Funding Assistance for Spin-off and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialization (FASTRAC) Program. The DOST-PCIEERD have provided P15 million for the said project.

Unlike other existing weather monitoring systems in the country, WEHLO ensures that its System adheres to the international standard set by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In addition to this, the Project has improved the Automated Real-Time Monitoring System sensors with DOST-PAGASA.

“One of the advantages of this technology is that we can modify the system based on the users’ needs which means, we can manually calibrate the system and provide localized weather data including rainfall, temperature, humidity, pressure, soil moisture, wind speed, wind direction, flow velocity, and water level,” said Dr. Uy, WEHLO project leader and Chief Executive Officer, USHER Technology Inc.

Furthermore, Project WEHLO has already deployed and established partnerships with the Local Government Units of Infanta and General Nakar in the province of Quezon and Pantabangan and Angat in Bulacan. The technology helps municipalities gather reliable and accurate real-time data with continuous data transmission even during inclement weather where mobile phone signals are often interrupted, and power outages occur. 

“Innovative DRRM technologies like WEHLO play a crucial role in our disaster preparedness. As La Niña approaches, precise weather information really empowers municipalities and enhances disaster management,” said DOST– PCIEERD Executive Director, Enrico C. Paringit.

Aside from weather-related monitoring, WEHLO can also be used for watershed monitoring which can be useful for dam operators and in agricultural farm management. Users can simply access the data through the WEHLO web portal or through the mobile application equipped with an alert warning feature.

Last year, proponents of Project WEHLO and the DOST-PAGASA signed the memorandum of agreement allowing weather data sharing between two parties.

On the average, the Philippines experiences 20 typhoons every year. Reports from DOST -Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) says that as the El Niño weakens, the country may experience intensified rain as La Niña approaches the second semester of the year. (PR)

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