Anda di halaman 1dari 46

Project NOAH Open-File Reports

Vol. 1 (2013), pp. 37-82, ISSN 2362 7409

PROJECT NOAH HOW TO USE MANUAL


Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, Ph.D.
National Institute of Geological Sciences, University of the Philippines Diliman
Department of Science and Technology, Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards
mlagmay@noah.dost.gov.ph

MODULE 1: HAZARDS
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the United Nations office that ensures the
implementation of plans and policies for disaster risk reductions, defines a hazard as a dangerous
phenomenon, substance, human activity, or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health
impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or
environmental damage.
A hazard cannot exist when its not happening. A hazardous activity or situation that has already
happened is called an incident. When hazard and vulnerability are both present, a risk is created.
Although there are other types of hazards such as chemical and biological hazards, this manual will focus
on natural hazards that include floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
1.1 FLOOD
A flood happens when there is an overflow of water that submerges a land area. It is generally a result of
the excess volume of water spilling from a larger body of water such as lakes and rivers. When they reach
their total capacity, the water leaks and reaches the ground. generation
Floods can cause damage to properties and risk peoples lives. Major types of infrastructure such as
buildings, bridges, roads, canals, and sewerage systems can be affected by a strong flood. In addition,
houses with weak foundations can easily be destroyed by flowing water.
The occurrence of floods also poses threats to the health of residents living in the area. Communicable
diseases can spread due to unsanitary living conditions. Finding clean drinking water may be a concern,
as well as managing the transportation system. Furthermore, flooding can be highly traumatic to people
who experience it, particularly when serious fatalities and injuries happen.
37

1.1. RIVER BASINS


When rainwater falls, it goes to the rivers and eventually to the seas. This is the normal flow of rain from
the sky to the ground. But when the volume of rainwater is more than these bodies of water can contain, it
spills and reaches land areas, thus causing flood.
To fully understand what causes flood and how to lessen its effects to property and human living, it is
important to learn about river basins.
Basically, a river basin (also called drainage basin or watershed) is an area of land drained by a river and
its tributaries. Its the catchment area of a river and is important in water management during calamities
like strong floods.
To put it simply, a river basin collects all the water and channels it to one area where the elevation is low.
However, when strong rains happen, floods may overrun the basin and discharge the excess water into the
next river system.
1.2 EARTHQUAKE
An earthquake happens when there is a sudden release of energy in the earths crust or upper mantle,
which is usually caused by volcanic activity or movement of geological faults. This results in the
generation of seismic waves that can cause destruction to property and loss of lives. Usually followed by
aftershocks, earthquakes can trigger landslides, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions.
1.3 TSUNAMI
A tsunami (often mistakenly referred to as tidal waves) is a series of huge waves caused by a quake or
volcanic activity happening at sea or undersea. When the waves hit the shorelines, they can pose major
threats to lives, properties, and natural habitats of animals.
1.4 VOLCANIC ERUPTION
In simple terms, an eruption happens when lava, magma, or gas is discharged from a volcanic vent or
fissure. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 is considered one of the most destructive natural
calamities of the past century. It spewed tons of sulfur dioxide and other particles into the air and spread
all over the world. Due to its impact, global temperature was said to have dropped by about one degree
Fahrenheit (0.5 degree Celsius) over the course of the following year.

MODULE 2: EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS

2. OVERVIEW
In an article published by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security
(UN-EHS) and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), it is mentioned that creating
people-centered early warning systems is crucial in addressing the effects of natural hazards such as
38

floods and earthquakes. These systems help empower communities by preparing them before, during, and
after the occurrence of calamities. It also points out that our vulnerability to natural hazards is growing
because population increases and more people are living in risky places. Therefore, it is necessary to
take action as soon as possible.
The traditional framework of early warning systems is initially comprised of three stages:

Monitoring of precursors
Forecasting of a probable event
Notification of a warning or an alert

Over the years, an additional stage has been included.


The fourth and final stage is the organization of emergency response activities after the issuance of
warning. Whereas the first three stages focus on the institutions responsible for risk reduction
management, the last one is concentrated on people, aimed at providing them with proper information and
training on how to respond during calamities.
For an early warning system to be effective, the agencies involved must be completely knowledgeable
about disaster preparedness and could devise efficient methods to disseminate information material to the
public. Priority must be given to making it accessible and understandable to communities that will be
using it.
[image/chart/table]
2.1. PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS OF LOCAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS
As endorsed by the UN ISDR, there are four key elements that compose an early warning system. These
include:

Risk Knowledge
Warning Service
Communication and Dissemination
Response Capability

All these components need to function individually and efficiently to make the whole system work. While
having a good leader is of utmost importance, it is also vital to employ highly competent people in order
to achieve positive results. Commitment to the project is crucial. Meetings must be organized on a regular
basis to ensure that the key individuals are informed of their tasks and deadlines. Furthermore, everyone
must have a clear understanding of each element to be able to deliver what is required from them.
2.1.1. RISK KNOWLEDGE
According to the UN ISDR, risk is the combination of the probability of an event and its negative
consequences. Simply put, it is the potential that an action or activity will result in something
undesirable like injury or loss.
39

Hazards and vulnerabilities are two important factors that must be present in order to determine risks. In
assessing risk, it is imperative to have a systematic gathering and study of data, with particular emphasis
given on trends and patterns.
The UN ISDR explains it further: risk assessment includes a review of the technical characteristics of
hazards such as their location, intensity, frequency and probability; the analysis of exposure and
vulnerability including the physical social, health, economic and environmental dimensions; and the
evaluation of the effectiveness of prevailing and alternative coping capacities in respect to likely risk
scenarios.
Being informed will help people understand hazards better. This way, they can devise plans and
implement them to mitigate the effects of disasters.
2.1.2. WARNING SERVICE
An effective warning system must be able to predict forthcoming catastrophic events as accurately as
possible. To accomplish this, it would be helpful to utilize advanced and state-of-the-art equipment that is
functional 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Timing is also significant, since people must be warned as
soon as a risk arises. Monitoring of possible hazard locations must be constantly done by various agencies
and networks that specialize in disaster operations.
2.1.3. COMMUNICATION AND DISSEMINATION
All efforts to generate accurate data and timely warnings will be useless if they wont reach the people
who need them. Informational messages must not only be accessiblethey must also be clear enough for
citizens to understand and follow. In addition, there should be a continuous and well-organized
communication system among regional and national agencies in order to fully implement urgent
directives. The use of modern communication devices such as smartphones and tablet computers is also
recommended to ensure that messages will reach the people at risk as early as possible. Incorrect and
ambiguous information must be avoided at all costs.
2.1.4. RESPONSE CAPABILITY
It is not just the agencies that have responsibilities in reducing and managing riskslocal communities
also play an important role in coming up with an effective early warning system. Residents must be
encouraged to attend educational programs so that theyd be aware of their duties as citizens. Since they
will be the ones who will mostly benefit from this, it is also important that they realize the huge effect on
their lives if this system turns out to be successful.

40

MODULE 3: PROJECT NOAH


3.1 INTRODUCTION
Being a locus of typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, the Philippines is a hotbed of
disasters. Natural hazards inflict loss of lives and costly damage to property. Last year, the devastating
impacts of Pedring, Quiel, and Sendong resulted in a high number of fatalities with economic losses
amounting to billions of pesos. Extreme weather is the common factor in these latest catastrophes.
Situated in the humid tropics, the country will inevitably suffer from climate-related calamities similar to
those ones experienced recently. With continued development in the lowlands and their growing
population, it is expected that damage to infrastructure and human losses would persist and rise unless
appropriate measures are immediately implemented by the government.
In response to President Benigno Aquino's instructions to establish a responsive program for disaster
prevention and mitigation, specifically, to help agencies provide a six-hour lead-time warning to
vulnerable communities against impending floods and to use advanced technology in enhancing current
geo-hazard vulnerability maps, the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) was
launched by the Department of Science and Technology in July 2012.
Project NOAH's mission is to undertake disaster science research and development, advance the use of
cutting edge technologies, and recommend innovative information services in government's disaster
prevention and mitigation efforts. Through the use of science and technology and in partnership with the
academe and other stakeholders, the DOST and Project NOAH are taking a multi-disciplinary approach in
developing systems, tools, and other technologies that could be operationalized by the government to help
prevent and mitigate disasters.
3.1.1 COMPONENT PROJECTS
At present there are eight component projects under the NOAH program:
Hydromet Sensors Development
DREAM-LIDAR 3-D Mapping Project
Flood NET-Flood Modeling Project
Hazards Information Media
Enhancing Geo-hazards Mapping through LIDAR
Doppler System Development,
41

Landslide Sensors Development Project, and


Storm Surge Inundation Mapping Project
The current Project NOAH team is composed of scientist-leaders who handle these projects. The
country's warning agencies, such as PAG-ASA and PHIVOLCS, are also represented.
3.1.2 MAJOR RIVER BASINS
In two years, Project NOAH plans to provide high-resolution flood hazard maps and install 600
automated rain gauges and 400 water level measuring stations for 18 major river basins in the Philippines,
namely:

Marikina River Basin

Cagayan de Oro River Basin

Iligan River Basin

Agno River Basin

Pampanga River Basin

Bicol River Basin

Cagayan River Basin

Agusan River Basin

Panay River Basin

Magaswang Tubig River Basin

Jalaur River Basin

Ilog-Hilabangan River Basin

Agus River Basin

Davao River Basin

Mindanao River Basin

Tagum-Libuganon River Basin

Tagaloan River Basin

Buayan-Malungun River Basin


42

Other river basins located in the Philippines will be given priority as soon as the work on the 18 major
river basins is completed.
3.1.3 PARTICIPATING AGENCIES
The activities and services of Project NOAH wont have been possible without the support of the
following agencies and organizations:

PAGASA

DOST-ASTI

PHIVOLCS

DOST-STII

UP NIGS EML Laboratory

ClimateX Project

UP NIGS VTEC Laboratory

nababaha.com

UP DGE-TCAGP

UP-MSI

British Council

British Embassy

UK Environment Agency

Cabot Institute, Bristol University

Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Potsdam

MediaQuest Holdings Inc.

Manila Observatory

DRRNet

DILG

MMDA

DENR
43

DPWH

Smart Communications, Inc.

SUN Cellular

Globe Telecommunications

Google Crisis Response

Petron

www.lifesomundane.net

Rotary

Club

of

Pinamalayan

Central

For data sources, Project NOAH is helped by the following:

Australian AID: Metro Manila LiDAR data

Collective Strengthening of Community Awareness for Natural Disasters (CSCAND): Metro


Manila LiDAR data

Government of Japan: JICA

Government of Korea: KOICA

For the development of mobile applications, the team is supported by the following people and
organizations:

Rolly Rulete: Project NOAH app for Android

Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center: Flood Patrol app for Android

ABS-CBN Corporation: Project NOAH app for IOS

Pointwest

Technologies:

Flood

Map

app

for

Android/IOS

EFFECTIVE USE OF THE DOST-PROJECT NOAH WEBSITE


Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, Ph.D.
3.2.1 OVERVIEW
The Project NOAH website is one of the information dissemination platforms designed by the
government to mitigate and prevent disasters. With the use of the Internet, critical, reliable, authoritative,
understandable, and timely information is conveyed to communities and local government units. The
website contains detailed weather and disaster information, which, when used properly, can avoid the loss
44

of lives and damage to properties due to the impacts of natural hazards. A step-by-step approach on the
use of the Project NOAH website is discussed in the manual. It also contains instructions on how to
interpret the features correctly in the context of impending local disasters.
The Project NOAH website can be accessed through any Internet browser by typing the URL
http://www.noah.dost.gov.ph. It can also be searched using Google by typing Project NOAH and
clicking the first entry on the list of results.
3.2.2 HOME PAGE
Once the Project NOAH website opens, a Google map of the Philippines will show up on the home page.
(Figure 1).

Figure 1. The NOAH website showing a Google map of the Philippines once its opened.
The lower right corner of the page shows the Twitter messages of PAGASA, which is the primary source
of information related to weather and floods. Information posted on the NOAH website is supplementary
to the official advisory given by PAGASA.
Located on the top left part is the zoom tool of Google. On the opposite side are the STREET,
TERRAIN, and HYBRID buttons, which are used for selecting the type of maps that the viewer likes.
The TERRAIN view is highly recommended for a faster Internet experience. Beside the map type button
is the transparency slide bar that sets the opacity of overlays.

45

Users can scroll real-time rainfall measurements of automated rain gauges on the lower part of the
website.

Figure 2. Tool bar on the DOST Project NOAH website.


The blue tabs on the top right corner (Figure 2) allow the viewer to activate or deactivate the TOOLS
tabs and LEGEND icons, as well as to navigate other Project NOAH documents, including the ABOUT,
HELP, and REPORT A FLOOD pages.

3.2.3 TOOLS
When the TOOLS tab is activated, this feature above the map of the Philippines will appear. (Figure 3)

Figure 3. The toolbar menu.


The toolbar menu is the main gateway to access the different features of the Project NOAH website. This
menu enables the viewer to select various displays that show weather information and flood maps for the
Philippines.
A. SEARCH
The SEARCH tab is used when there is a need to display community-scale hazard maps in any part of the
country. This feature allows the viewer to zoom into any location in the Philippines. Upon typing the
address and activating the search engine, the user is automatically directed to the place of interest and
given access to Provincial, Municipal and Barangay scale maps.
B. OVERVIEW
To get a quick view of weather-related data in the Philippines, users are advised to check the
OVERVIEW tab (Figure 4) first. There are many choices: The Multi-Transport Satellite Image
(MTSAT) is an animated image that show rain clouds above the country and in the surrounding seas.
Rainfall, temperature, pressure, and humidity contour maps show the
weather condition anywhere in the Philippines at a glance. The 3, 6, 12
and 24-hour rainfall contours show areas in the Philippines that have
been experiencing heavy downpour. Lastly, the percent chance of rain
contour allows viewing of areas that are most likely to experience
rainfall, every hour or up to four hours in advance.

46
Figure 4. The overview tab functions
are used to display the general
weather condition in the Philippines

The MTSAT and processed images provide the viewer with information about clouds that carry water
(Figure 5). Red clouds mean that they have a lot of water that may fall as rain, while yellow clouds carry
less water. During instances when there are cyclones within the Philippine Area of Responsibility
(PAR), clouds are often seen swirling around the eye of the typhoon or storm.

Figure 5. MTSAT image showing typhoon Lawin (international codename Jelawat).

47

Figure 6. Processed satellite image. White clouds indicate areas where rain may fall.
The processed satellite image shows white clouds that can bring forth rain. It is an animation of the five
latest sequential images downloaded by the satellite ground station of PAGASA. At the lower left corner
of the animated file is the timestamp in both the MTSAT and processed imageries. The timestamp may
have a one-hour delay, which is acceptable because it requires time to download data from the satellite
orbiting at 36,000 km above the earths surface and process them into an animated file.
After viewing the satellite imageries, the user can activate the rainfall contour button (Figure 7) in the
overview tab options. The one-hour rainfall contour shows places in the Philippines that have
experienced rain as measured by the automated weather stations (AWS) and automated rain gauges
(ARG) deployed all over the Philippines. A scale bar can be used on the left side of the page to learn
about the type of rainfall according to the classification of PAGASA. To explain the various rain types,
heres
a
useful
analogy
using
the
car
windshield
wiper
(Table
1).
The next tab to check is the 3-hour rainfall contour button (Figure 8).

Rain type

Color

Torrential

Red

Intensity
mm/hour
>30

Intense

Yellow

15<30

Wiper analogy
Even with fast and continuous wiper speed, the driver will not be
able to see the road
Wiper must be fast and continuous to see the road during intense
rain
48

Heavy

Dark
Blue
Blue

7.5<15

Wiper must be slow and continuous to see the road during heavy
rain
Moderate
2.5<7.5
Wiper must be set at intermittent to see the road during moderate
rain
Light
Light
0.01<2.5
The driver doesnt need the wiper to be working to see the road
blue
mm
during light rain
Table 1. Wiper analogy for various types of rain.

Figure 7. Rainfall contour of rainfall accumulation in Central and Southeast Luzon.

49

Figure 8. The 3-hour rainfall contour button.


Floods are generated by intense and torrential rainfall delivered in a watershed over a prolonged period.
When red and yellow colors appear in the Philippine map with a 3-hour rainfall contour overlay, it means
that a region of the country is experiencing heavy downpour and is prone to generating floods that can
inundate low-lying areas. Floods during heavy and prolonged downpour are produced depending on the
size of the watershed, intensity of rain, volume of rain, type of land cover, and other factors.
In short, predicting whether floods will happen or not in an already drenched area, is not as easy as one
can imagine. Nonetheless, rainfall contours that show a large accumulation of rain can give an indication
of potential floods and be used to alert people about a potential danger. To get a quick view of areas in
the Philippines affected by intense and torrential rainfall, the user must check this feature and the 6-hour,
12-hour, and 24-hour rainfall contour maps in the OVERVIEW tab. For comparison, look at the
previous flood disasters and the amount of rain poured within the watershed listed on Table 2.
Table 2. List of recent flood disasters in the Philippines and the corresponding rain intensity and
volume delivered in respective watersheds.
Disaster

Date

Watershed

Durian

Nov 29- Mayon


30, 2009
Volcano

River

Intensity
(Maximum)

Basud;
47.5
Bogtong;
mm/hour
Buyuan;
Padang, Bonga,
Busay; Culiat;
50

Cumulative
Source
rainfall in 24
hours
489.2
mm Paguican et
mostly
al. 2010
delivered in
18 hours

Frank

June 20- Ilog=Hilabang


22, 2008
an;
Jalaur

Ondoy

Sept 26, Pasig2009


Marikina

Pepeng

Pedring
and
Quiel
Sendong

Habagat

Habagat

Habagat

Banag,
Binitayan,
Daraga;
Anoling;
Quirangay;
Masarawag
Hilabangan;
Jalaur; Tigum

Marikina; San 90 mm/hour


Juan; Pasig

354 mm on 20 Carcellar et
June 2008
al.2011,
Yumul et al,
20

455 mm hours
mostly
delivered in 6
hours
October
Agno
Agno River
54 mm/hr
190 mm from
4-9, 2009
8
am
of
October 3 to 8
am October 4,
2009
Sept 6 Pampanga
Pampanga;
50 mm/hr 375 mm
Oct
2,
Angat
(Typhoon
combined for
2011
Nesat)
Pedring and
Quiel
December Cagayan
de Cagayan
de ~40 mm/hr
180
mm
2011
Oro/Iligan
Oro; Iponan;
mostly
Mandulog;
delivered in 6Iligan
7 hours
August 6, PasigMarikina; San 23.37
323.4
mm
2012
Marikina;
Juan; Malabon- mm/hr
from 8 am to
Tullahan
(QCPU
8 am the
station)
following day
(Science
Garden
Station)
August 7, PasigMarikina; San 58.93
391.4 from 8
2012
Marikina;
Juan; Malabon- mm/hr
am to 8 am
Tullahan
(QCPU
the following
station)
day (Science
Garden
Station)
August 8, PasigMarikina; San 45.21
292.6 from 8
2012
Marikina;
Juan; Malabon- mm/hr
am to 8 am
51

PAGASA
(Science
Garden
Station)
PIN station

NASA
TRRM

Manila
Observatory

PAGASA
DOST ASTI
NOAH

PAGASA
DOST ASTI
NOAH

PAGASA
DOST ASTI

Tullahan

(QCPU
station

midnight of
October 8)

the following NOAH


day (Science
Garden
Station)

Flooding in the metropolis occurs when urban development encroaches onto floodplains, which results in
the obstruction of floodways and loss of natural storage. Building concrete structures and pavements
increases the risk in impervious areas, which means more run-off will accumulate suddenly during
torrential rainfall events. Such type of intense rain normally accompanies typhoons, monsoon rains, or
even local thunderstorms.
For Metro Manila, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Atmospheric Sciences Administration
(PAGASA) has come up with a three-level color-coded scheme to warn citizens about impending floods.
(Table 3). The warning levels are based on historical data of rainfall intensity, duration, and past
occurrences of street floods.

Table 3. Color-coded warning system of PAGASA for urban flooding in Metro Manila. Source:
PAGASA
Red

Orange

Yellow

More than 30 mm of rain


observed in an hour and
expected to continue in
the next two hours
15-30 mm of rain
(intense) rain observed in
an hour and expected to
continue in the next two
hours
7.5-15 mm of rain
(heavy) rain observed in
the next two hours

Serious
flooding Response:
expected in low lying Evacuation
areas
Flooding is threatening

Flooding is possible

Response:
Alert for
evacuation

possible

Response:
Monitor the weather
condition

Other OVERVIEW options on the Project NOAH website are TEMPERATURE, PRESSURE, and
HUMIDITY contours (Figure 9), which are used to check additional weather parameters. For example,
the pressure contour map can be used along with the typhoon track of PAGASA to validate if the storm
or typhoon is going to pass through the region where atmospheric pressure is lowest. There is normally a
52

drop in the atmospheric pressure before a storm arrives. As for all overlays on the NOAH website, it is
important to check the timestamp to get a more accurate reading. For the contour maps, the timestamp is
located on the top left of the Philippine map.

Figure 9. Contour maps showing temperature, pressure and humidity.

The last option in the OVERVIEW tab is the RAINFALL PROBABILITY contour. Probabilities of
rainfall for every city in the Philippines are available, but instead of looking at the hourly chance of rain
per city, these have been reformatted into a map of rain probability. This way, users can see the chance of
rainfall in every region of the country at a glance. This is useful when they just want to quickly check a
specific area thats likely to experience rain in the next four hours. The probability contour map is
animated every hour up to four hours from the time it was last updated.

53

Figure 10. Chance of rain contour. Scale bar to the left of the Philippine map shows the percentage
chance of rain with red and maroon colors depicting 80-100% chance of rain in the next hour from
the last update.
C. WEATHER OUTLOOK TAB
WEATHER OUTLOOK is the next tab in the TOOLS menu. By selecting the probability of rainfall
feature in the options, a map with icons of percentage chance of rain will appear on the Philippine map for
every key city in the Philippines.
There are five types of icons:

A full sun or moon


A partly cloudy sun or moon
A large cloud covering the sun or moon
A dark cloud
A dark cloud with heavy rain

Each icon represents a range of percent chance of rain values (Table 4).

Icon type

Image
(Day)

Image
(Night)

Percent chance of rain range


54

Remarks

sun/moon:

<20

Rainfall
likely

sun/moon
small cloud

with

20-30

sun/moon
large cloud

with

31-40

overcast dark cloud

41-60

raincloud

>60

Table

Probaility

of

rain

icons

is

not

Rainfall is very
likely

and

equivalent

percent

chance

of

rain.

When the icon is selected, a table appears showing the probability of rainfall every hour up to four hours
ahead of the current time (Figure 11). It is important to check when the analysis was last generated to
ensure accuracy. The reliability of the forecast, which is based on the validation of ClimateX (a Project
NOAH research component), is about 95 percent when all data sources (Satellite, Doppler, Rain Gauges)
are up-to-date.

Figure 11. Percent chance of rain for every key city in the Philippines.
55

Whenever there is a tropical cyclone in the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), another option
appears in the WEATHER OUTLOOK tab. This is the PAGASA typhoon cyclone forecast track. By
selecting this feature along with the MTSAT image in the OVERVIEW tab, a view of the actual position
of the cyclone and the forecast track can be seen (Figure 12).

Figure 12. PAGASA forecast track of typhoon Nina (international codename Prapiroon) overlain
on the MTSAT image of the Philippines, taken early morning of October 12, 2012.
The outline of the Philippine Area of Responsibility also appears when the forecast track feature is
activated. This feature allows the viewer to determine the position of the satellite and the forecast relative
to PAR.

3.2.4 DOPPLER
The DOPPLER tab allows the selection of animated images from the Doppler radar stations of
PAGASA. There are currently six Doppler radar stations that monitor rain clouds in the country. Four of
these stations stream data into the Project NOAH website. These are the Subic, Tagaytay, Cebu, and
Hinatuan Doppler stations. As soon as communication lines are fixed to stream the data from the Baguio
and Virac Doppler stations into DOST-ASTI servers, the raw radar shall be processed and made
available. By 2014, there will be a total of 13 operational Doppler radar stations to monitor weather
conditions in the country. Every raincloud can be seen and measured in terms of the intensity and volume
of precipitable water (Figure 13).
56

Figure 13. Doppler image from Subic station during "Habagat". Screenshot taken at 7 am on
August 7, 2012. Pink rain clouds indicate high intensity rain.
When a station is selected, a circle appears with its center corresponding to the location of the receiving
Doppler radar. The acquisition coverage of most of the Doppler radar instruments in the Philippines is up
to about 400 km and is shown as a black outline. If there are rain clouds within the coverage area, they
will appear as colored clouds. A reference scale bar for the cloud color is provided on the right side of the
Philippine map, which shows rainbow colors with their corresponding rainfall intensity values in
millimeters per hour. Light blue means light rain while the red and pink clouds range from intense to
torrential rains.
The southwest monsoon rains experienced by people living in Greater Metro Manila from August 6 to 8,
2012 were detected by the Doppler radar stations in Subic and Tagaytay. There were a lot of pinkcolored clouds that moved over Laguna, National Capital Region, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales,
which were felt by Metro Manila residents when heavy rain continued to fall. The rainfall also made the
Marikina River rise twice, prompting forced evacuation in low-lying areas in Montalban, San Mateo, and
Marikina. Malabon and Navotas, including many parts of Bulacan, were also inundated.

57

3.2.5 WEATHER STATIONS


The WEATHER STATIONS tab allows viewing of data for each automated sensor deployed in strategic
parts of the country. At the time of writing, there are already more than 200 weather stations that provide
Project NOAH with data on rainfall and river water level every 10 to 15 minutes. By the end of 2013,
more than 1000 automated rain gauges and water level sensors are expected to be set up.
There are three types of weather stations: the Automated Weather Station (AWS), the Automated Water
Level Sensor (AWLS), and the Automated Rain Gauge (ARG). Each type of sensor is included in the
WEATHER STATION tab. Selecting all of these options will show the distribution of the entire
collection of sensors located all over the Philippines. (Figure 14)

Figure 14. Automated weather stations deployed all over the Philippines.
Three types of colored pins will appear on the Philippine map. The blue pins represent automated weather
stations, red pins are for automated water level sensors, and the green pins are for automated rain gauges.
Depending on the zoom level, numbers may appear on the balloon head of the pins. These represent the
number of pins in a cluster that separate when the Philippine map is zoomed in.
When the blue pin is clicked twice, a graph appears showing the data of the rainfall, temperature,
pressure, and humidity in the last 24 hours. The rainfall data (Figure 15a) are color-coded to represent the
types of rainfall based on the classification of PAGASA. Temperature data (Figure 15b) are shown in a
degree-centigrade versus time graph. Atmospheric pressure data (Figure 15c) are shown in a pressure
58

versus time graph. The unit of pressure is measured in hectopascals (hPA), where 1 hectoPascal is equal
to 100 Pascals. Lastly, humidity is shown in terms of percentage humidity versus time graph (Figure
15d).

Figure 15. a) Top left showing the rain gauge graph b) top right showing the temperature graphs c)
bottom left showing the pressure graph d) bottom right showing the humidity graph

Inspection of ARG data is possible by clicking on any of the green pins twice. Once selected, a graph
similar to the AWS rainfall data appears on screen (Figure 16). Peaks in the graph signify rainfall of a
particular type of rainfall intensity (i.e. torrential, intense, heavy, moderate, or light) when matched with
the colored background. By moving the cursor along the X-axis, the user will see the amount of rainfall
collected every 10 or 15 minutes over the last 24 hours.

59

Figure 16. Rainfall graph the last 24 hours.

The stream gauge option of the SENSORS tab shows the location of all the river water level gauges
installed by PAGASA and DOST-ASTI in the 18 priority river basins of Project NOAH. To access data
from each of the stream gauges, select the red pin and a graph will appear showing the data collected in
the last 24 hours. A color-coded background will provide the matching assessment level of potential
fluvial flooding (Figure 17).
Three warning levels are designated in the graph: the alert, alarm, and critical level. They are classified
based on the percentage height of water flow relative to bank full (Figure 18). These stages of surface
height of water correspond to 30 percent, 60 percent and 90 percent of bankfull, respectively.

60

Figure 17. Graph of water level of the Marikina River (Sto. Nino station). Water levels during
"Habagat" reached 20.5 meters twice in the span of 3 days.
However, the local government may adopt their own scheme of warning levels. For example, the
Marikina City Council (http://syncsysph.com/councilmarikinagovph/data/riverlevel.html) uses its own
system in warning its residents. When the water level of the Marikina River reaches 15 meters, residents
living in low-lying areas beside the river are warned of impending danger. At 16 meters, residents are
asked to prepare to evacuate. When the level of the Marikina River reaches 17 meters, people are asked to
evacuate. Those that do not follow these instructions are forced to leave when the water level reaches 18
meters. All warning levels of the Marikina City Council are based on measurements and reports from the
Sto. Nino station.

61

Figure 18. Schematic cross-section of a river showing bankfull and percentage levels relative to
bankfull level.
Giving warnings about suspension of classes is essential in disaster prevention. However, it is necessary
that they are relayed to residents and clearly understood by everyone in the community long before crises
happen. The warning levels are unique to each river and its location along the river. They are determined
based on a thorough assessment of carrying capacity and the response of the fluvial system to rainfall
events.
3.2.6 FLOOD MAP
Selecting the FLOOD MAP tab will display flood maps that represent past scenarios of flood events and
near real-time simulations of river conditions in map view. In general, the scenarios from past flood
events in rivers for 18 major basins (Table 5) are used to help people prepare for flood disasters several
years in advance. These maps can be used to identify flood hazard areas, distinguish possible blocked
roads, determine emergency access routes, and strategize placement of rubber boats and key emergency
facilities, among others. Most importantly, they should be used for comprehensive land development
plans. Avoiding land development in known compromised areas lessens the impact of natural hazards
because fewer people will be in harms way. Forecast simulations of floods based on near real-time data
provide important basis for action during a crisis situation.

62

Table 5. A list of the 18 major river basins prioritized by Project NOAH, which includes the
Infanta and Lucena watersheds.

Name of River Basin

AREA (SQUARE KILOMETERS)


Catchment

Watershed

Flood Plain

CDO

1382.50

1302.42

80.082

Mandulog

715.53

658.41

57.13

Davao

1325.47

1280.08

45.40

Bicol

3089.31

2371.81

717.50

Cagayan

27451.49

21889.98

5561.50

Agno

6219.87

4495.02

1724.84

Pampanga

11160.17

6701.80

4458.37

Infanta

950.11

934.64

15.47

Lucena

228.82

196.38

32.44

Panay

2441.43

1942.68

498.75

Jalaur

1535.08

831.18

703.90

Ilog Hilabangan

2059.63

1942.80

116.83

Tagum Libuganon

2370.97

1935.20

435.76

Buayan

1440.55

1187.14

253.41

Mag-Asawang Tubig

468.59

169.80

298.79

Mindanao

20962.36

15711.37

5250.99

Tagoloan

1753.24

1430.48

322.76

Agusan

1917.88

1604.89

312.99

Iligan

149.067

138.10

10.07

Past scenarios of inundation shown on the Project NOAH website are simulated flood events that arise
from different intensities and duration of rainfall. Records of such rainfall in different areas of the
country are documented by PAGASA and go back as far as the 1950s. To group the different types of
rainfall events, they have been classified according to their statistical return period of 5, 10, 25, 50 and
100 years. The probability of a 5-year rain return period is 1 in every 5 years while the probability of a
63

100-year rain return period is 1 in every 100 years. In simple terms, the strength of rainfall for a 100-year
rain return is much stronger but less frequent than it is for a 5-year rain return. Since statistical rain return
periods refer to probability (chance in gambling talk), the chance of having a100-year rain return period
rainfall event in consecutive years or within the same year is also possible. Once it happens, the
probability clock is reset. For each of these 1 to 100-year rain return events, corresponding flood
scenarios are generated using computer simulations of water runoff on land.
On the other hand, the flood scenarios determined through near real-time rainfall measurements predict
the flood distribution and depth of inundation of areas by the river. Since these real-time scenarios are
simulated using fast computers, it warns people ahead of time about what kind of flood may happen.
These flood scenarios help communities and local government units to make early preparations and come
up with logical decisions for an impending flood disaster.
For example, the land area of San Mateo and Marikina with overlays of various flood scenarios is shown
below. High, medium, and low hazard levels are indicated in yellow, orange, and red, respectively.
Selecting the LEGEND tab in the top right buttons will display the equivalent height of the different
colors relative to a Filipino, 5 feet and 6 inches in height or as tall as the boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

Figure 19 Flood hazard map using the 5-year rainfall return period data of PAGASA.

64

Figure 20 Flood hazard map using the 25-year rainfall return period data of PAGASA

Figure 21 Flood hazard map using the 50-year rainfall return period data of PAGASA
65

Figure 22 Flood hazard map using the 100-year rainfall return period data of PAGASA

66

Figure 23 Flood hazard map using the recorded rainfall of Ondoy on 26 September 2009.
The viewer can look for an address using the SEARCH feature of the site. Zoom toolbars are located in
the top left corner of the map page. The mouse scroll button can also be used to zoom in and out the map.
The flood scenarios generated from near real-time rainfall data use computers that run simulations every
ten minutes, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The output is automatically integrated as plan- and crosssection views (Figure 24a and Figure 24b) into the Project NOAH website.

67

Figure 24. Simulation of flood along the Marikina River during Habagat from August 6 to 9 and
the rainfall events on July 3. Source: DREAM-Project DOST panel technical presentation.

68

Figure 25. A cross-sectional view of water level along the Marikina River in Montalban station with
a six-hour advanced forecast. This six-hour water level forecast based on rain data is yet to be
implemented. Source: UP-DREAM presentation to the DOST technical panel.
Geometry is an important part of hydrologic modeling and comprises about 70 to 75 percent of the flood
model outputs accuracy. Rainfall, land cover, soil moisture, infiltration surface roughness, base flow, and
other parameters are factors that determine it. However, it is important for people to realize that
landscape always changes and data parameter input can be generalized. As such, flood simulations can
only approximate the exact values of flood heights and their distribution at any given point in time. It is
thus important that flood simulation maps are constantly updated and validated. Since the validation of
flood simulations is of utmost importance, painstaking efforts are made to ensure that the maps are
precise. Various schemes are also used to test and improve the accuracy of other systems. These include
flood reporting (anecdotal accounts of floods by citizens), actual field measurements (Figure 26),
comparison with satellite data (Figure 27), and evaluation of modeled versus actual measured discharge
of the river (Figure 28).

69

Figure 26 Simulation of the Ondoy flood in Talayan, Quezon City with overlay anecdotal accounts
of floods using crowdsourcing techniques. Red dots mean overhead flood, while green dots indicate
the lack of flood.

70

Figure 27. Change detection in two radar images before and during the Habagat flood in 2012.
Shown in red are the changes detected along the Marikina River due to the event. (Source:
Radarsat/MDA).

71

Figure 28. Comparision of computer-simulated water level (blue line) versus actual water level (red
line) of the Marikina River (Montalban station). Source: UP-DREAM DOST technical panel
presentation.

72

2.2.7 LEGEND
The LEGEND tab serves as a reference for water level in
the flood hazard map. The Project NOAH team has
chosen to classify the depth of flood in three types for
easier understanding. The low flood hazard means that
the flood is up to the waist. The medium flood hazard
means that the water level is from the waist up to the
head. Lastly, the high flood hazard, which is the most
dangerous, means that the inundation level is up to the
head.
Another factor that influences flood hazards is the
velocity of flowing water. Even if the water is only waisthigh, if the velocity of moving flood water is about 2
m/s2, then the hazard is considerable.

73

3.3 Project NOAH Mobile Applications and Flood Patrol


Project NOAH for Android is developed by Rolly Rulete, a software engineer and
Web app developer based in Davao. In July 2012, he and his teammates Pablito Veroy
and Jay Albano won the Best Use of Smart APls at the first HTML Hackathon held
in Davao City organized by Smart Communications Inc. through the Smart Developer
Network (SMARTDevNet). For the contest, they developed a full-blown version of
Project NOAH for mobile using HTML5.
The app was officially launched on October 17, 2012 at the DOST-PAGASA office in Quezon City. The
event was attended by PAGASA administrator Dr. Nathaniel Servando, DOST-STII director Raymund
Liboro, the Project NOAH team, representatives from SMART and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency
Center, and various members of the media.
Except for the flood maps, all of the features on the Project NOAH website are available in the mobile
app. Android phone users can now get near real-time updates on weather and report floods wherever they
may be. This is definitely a step forward in empowering the public to prepare for calamities and other
hazard events.
The features are explained in detail in a section in Module 3 called Effective Use of the DOST-Project
NOAH Website. This chapter only aims to provide a basic understanding of the app.
To download it, just visit the Play Store and search for Project NOAH. Select the first entry on the list
and it will install in a matter of minutes.
Once it initializes, the screen

will appear like this:

Figure 1.

74

Figure 2.

Figure 3.

Users have the option to view the information in two ways: the MAP view and the LIST view.
The MAP view (Figure 2) makes use of the Philippine map and shows more visual information, utilizing
different colors as symbols and animated images. On the other hand, the LIST view (Figure 3) is similar
to the MAP view except that the items are presented like a list for easier use.

75

Figure 4.

Figure 5.
76

Figure 6.
Figure 7.

77

Figure 8.

Figure 10.

Figure 9.

Figure 11.

Figure 12.

Users will be able to see things happening within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (Figure 4), browse
through multi-transport satellite views (Figure 5), and check information regarding temperature (Figure
6), rainfall (Figure 7), pressure (Figure 8), and humidity (Figure 9). Animated images from the Doppler
radar stations of PAGASA, as well as the status of weather stations, stream gauges, and rain gauges, are
also available to view.
Furthermore, users who have plans to go on vacation or conduct an activity outdoors can be given a
warning. By selecting the probability of rainfall feature, a map with icons of percentage chance of rain
will appear on the Philippine map for every key city in the Philippines. (Figure 10)
Project NOAH for Android has access to the PAGASA Typhoon Forecast, which is helpful in showing
the direction and movements of a typhoon in the Philippine area of responsibility. The cyclone icons
indicate the location of the typhoon. (Figure 11)

78

Figure 11.

The HELP page answers questions related to the features and the use of the app. Android users can refer
this as a guide whenever they experience problems in browsing through and accessing the information.
The INFO page includes comprehensive details about Project NOAH and the development of the app.
People can also obtain the emergency hotlines of different local institutions in case of emergency, such as
the PAGASA, PNP, and municipal offices. Furthermore, users can send an e-mail to Project NOAH, view
information about the website, and rate the app. Finally, the NEWS page shows the Twitter feeds of

79

80

Flood Patrol is an Android mobile phone application developed by the Ateneo Java
Wireless Competency Center (AJWCC).
The application extends the flood monitoring and flood mapping service of Project
NOAH spearheaded by Dr. Alfredo Mahar Lagmay. It allows people to report floods
via the mobile phone and send it to Project NOAH for mapping. Interested users can download it via
Google Play.

In addition to sharing information through text, users can send photos of the actual flood. By using their
camera phone, they can upload pictures and include necessary details in the report, such as location,
description of the incident, and flood depth. The app also allows connectivity with other social
networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail.
In case of emergency, the hotlines of various local agencies are made available for user convenience in
the app.

81

MODULE 4: FLOOD EARLY WARNING SYSTEM


4.1 EQUIPMENT
4.1.1 AUTOMATIC WEATHER STATIONS
An automatic weather station functions similarly to the conventional weather station, except that its
automated and is run by electronic devices. Its facility is comprised of instruments and equipment used
to monitor and study atmospheric conditions, the data of which are used to provide information for
weather forecasts and other climate-related needs. Most automatic weather stations have the following:

a thermometer (to measure air and sea surface temperature)

a wind vane (to measure wind direction)

an anemometer (to measure wind speed)

a barometer (to measure atmospheric pressure)

a hygrometer (to measure humidity)

a rain gauge (to measure the amount of rainfall)

Some stations have a ceilometer to measure cloud height and sensors for identifying falling precipitation.
4.1.2 RAIN GAUGES
A rain gauge (also called pluviometer or udometer) is an instrument used to gather and measure the
amount of precipitation (usually in millimeters) over a period of time. A simple rain gauge is a cylinder
whose one end is open and pointed at the sky. On its side are marks that determine how much rain has
fallen. Other types of rain gauges include automatic rain gauges, graduated cylinders, tipping bucket
gauges, weighing precipitation gauges, and radar gauges. To get accurate readings, it is advised to
position the rain gauge in an open area or a location where there are no obstructions such as trees or tall
structures.
4.1.3 STREAM GAUGES
A stream gauge is a station used by hydrologists to obtain information about the water flowing in
streams and rivers. It collects data such as the amount and height of water, the water surface elevation,
and the volumetric discharge.

This is a work in progress. Some graphics, information, and figures might be updated.
For more details, please contact info@noah.dost.gov.ph

82