The local government unit (LGU) of Lebak in Sultan Kudarat said it used data gathered through the automated weather stations (AWS) deployed by the WeatherPhilippines Foundation Inc. (WPF) to conduct cloud-seeding operations.
Myla Cañete, Lebak’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management officer, said the municipality was able to mitigate the ill effects of El Niño through cloud-seeding operations backed by WPF forecasts.
“The data generated by our AWS greatly enhanced our capacity to provide the cloud-seeding team with an accurate forecast on wind direction and wind speed. The five-day forecast enabled us to closely monitor our skies for ‘seedable’ clouds, and to determine the possibility of rain. The data of our AWS is vital for us to have rains,” Cañete said.
She said the AWS has also helped the LGU evaluate the success of the operations, explaining that rain-gauge data gathered from the weather stations provided the estimated amount of rainfall produced by seeding, which is vital for the cloud-seeding team to avoid wasting seeding agents.
“After months of planning and preparation, the Department of Agriculture reported in February 2016 that the cloud-seeding initiative in Mindanao successfully induced light to moderate downpours in Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato and Sarangani provinces,” Cañete added.
The WPF said Lebak, Sultan Kudarat’s experience is an example of how LGUs are maximizing weather information for disaster preparedness and as a tool for sustainable development.
According to the group, 124 of the 777 AWS deployed by WPF nationwide are in Mindanao. The foundation said it has deployed three AWS in Sultan Kudarat (Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat Capitol and Lebak) in 2014.
WPF Sustainability Specialist Margarette Lim earlier said the foundation is eyeing to venture into the use of weather information to help farmers make better decisions on their farming practices.
“As we gather more data and notice certain [weather and climate] trends, which can be correlated to agricultural trends, [we can help farmers decide] which crops to plant,” Lim said.
The WPF was founded in 2012 by the Aboitiz Foundation, UnionBank and Meteogroup. The foundation said it delivers free, more localized and accurate weather information through its web site or mobile application, which complements the government’s nationwide efforts on disaster-risk