By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Destructive typhoon "Ambo" (international name: "Vongfong") will soon be retired by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) from its list of tropical cyclone names due to its massive damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
Citizens go past fallen trees and debris on the road due to effects of Typhoon Ambo in San Policarpo town, Eastern Samar province,15 May 2020. (EPA-EFE/JEROME PEDROSA / MANILA BULLETIN)
Decommissioning names from the list of tropical cyclone names depends on the cost of damages to infrastructure and agriculture, which should amount to ₱1 billion and/or over 300 casualties, according to PAGASA weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio.
As of May 18, the Department of Agriculture estimated the amount of agricultural damage due to typhoon "Ambo" at ₱ 1.14 billion.
Considering that the amount of damage to agriculture exceeded ₱1 billion, Aurelio said PAGASA will likely decommission or retire the name "Ambo" from its list of tropical cyclone names.
"We will verify the amount of damages from the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council). But once it reaches ₱1 billion, it will be automatically removed from our list of tropical cyclones," Aurelio said.
"Ambo" was the country's first tropical cyclone this year.
The decommissioning of "extraordinarily destructive storms" has been practiced by PAGASA since February 1979.
PAGASA’s list of tropical cyclone names consists of four sets of 25 names, with 10 auxiliary or "reserved" names. In the event that the number of tropical cyclones within the year exceeds 25, an auxiliary list is used.
The sets of names were used every four years, from 2019-2022, 2023-2026, 2027-2030, and onward.
"Ambo" leaves PAR
The low pressure area (LPA), formerly typhoon "Ambo" has already left the country's area of responsibility then dissipated on Monday, Aurelio said.
"Good" weather, mainly due to partly cloudy to cloudy skies apart from isolated rains in the afternoon or evening, may prevail over most of the country in the next two days, he added.
"The country may still experience warm and humid weather until Thursday, as the weather agency is not expecting a tropical cyclone within this period," Aurelio cited.
Transition to 'habagat'
Based on the PAGASA's historical data, Aurelio said that the southwest monsoon or "habagat," associated with the rainy season, will likely commence between the last week of May and first half of June.
The declaration for the onset of rainy season is based on several criteria, which include a total rainfall amount of 25 millimeters (mm) or more with three consecutive days having at least 1 mm of rainfall per day.
At least seven stations or more than 50 percent of stations monitored must satisfy this criterion.
PAGASA said at least two stations in Metro Manila, namely the Science Garden in Quezon City, Port Area in Manila, or Sangley Pt. in Cavite, should have met the requirement.
For the wind criteria, prevailing winds should have westerly components over the western Philippines relative to the rain-associated weather patterns.