'Mesocyclone' hit Metro Manila, expert says

Posted at 07/31/12 9:56 PM

Satellite image of the mesocyclone that struck Metro Manila during Typhoon Gener on Sunday. Image courtesy of the NRL Monterey Marine Meteorology Division; Earth100

MANILA, Philippines - Officials of state weather bureau PAGASA on Tuesday denied allegations that the agency failed to deliver accurate weather updates following the strong winds and heavy rains that struck Metro Manila Sunday.

A mesocyclone, and not just an ordinary storm, hit the metropolis during the weekend, said Dr. Mahar Lagmay, director of the government's Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards).

He said although the phenomenon is hard to detect using satellites, PAGASA monitored it using Doppler radars.

He added that PAGASA was also able to warn the public using social media site Twitter and tell government agencies using SMS.

A mesocyclone is a vortex of air, approximately 3 kilometers to 80 kilometers in diameter, within a storm, according to meteorologists.

 They are often associated with a localized low-pressure region within a severe thunderstorm and often occur together with updrafts in supercells, where tornadoes may form.

Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo said PAGASA will will try to be more proactive regarding such weather disturbances occurs, and will try to use more basic terms in reporting weather.

He does not believe that PAGASA erred.

Referring to the mesocyclone, Montejo said a short-lived low pressure area that lasted for just 3 hours struck Metro Manila on Sunday.

He said it was detected by PAGASA and information was immediately relayed to the public and various government agencies such as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and disaster management bodies.

He said PAGASA also properly informed the public on heavy rains in the metropolis using the agency's color-coding scheme. - with a report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News