Typhoon Agaton?

Last Thursday, a Facebook page named Philippine Storm Update (insert URL here) published a bulletin saying that a low pressure area (LPA) has formed in the southwest part of Pacific Ocean and that it has the potential to be as strong as super typhoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).

According to the post, the supposed super storm will arrive in the Philippines by January 16 or 17. It even published a list of provinces that will likely be on the typhoon’s path. For a country still reeling from the effects of the worst typhoon in its history, it’s perhaps the worst news to receive at the start of the year.

The post has received mixed reactions, with some users expressing alarm while others urged caution. The page has almost 40,000 followers while the actual post has been shared nearly 20,000 times (it has since been deleted as of January 4).

With the alarming information quickly going viral on the social media, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) moved on Friday morning to debunk the rumor, writing on their Facebook page:

typhoon agaton
PAGASA has denied reports that Typhoon ‘Agaton’ will be a super typhoon like ‘Yolanda’ (click to enlarge)

We have detected an LPA based from our different satellite models but it’s quite far from PAR (more than 3000-4000 km East from Philippine landmass) and as of now, there is no enough proof to conclude that this will turn into a super typhoon like Typhoon Yolanda. We advised that don’t easily believe on rumors and statement without concrete basis. Keep calm and don’t panic.”

For sure, the first typhoon of the year will definitely be named Agaton (take a look at the list of typhoon names for 2014 here). It is also possible that a typhoon will enter the Philippine area of responsibility this month (for reference, it happened last year).

Lastly, the coming typhoon Agaton may indeed turn out to be as strong as Yolanda. However, fear-mongering on the basis hypothetical scenarios is certainly not helping the public in anyway.

PS: In a future post, I intend to discuss some tips on how readers can assess information they gather through blogs and social networking sites.




About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

2 Comments on Typhoon Agaton?

  1. The best way to do is to PREPARE for the worst. Everyone must assess the condition of their people and property. We have numerous experiences about how typhoon hits us and somehow, we have evaluated what was done before, during and after the disaster. This time, I am very sure we learned something out of our own experiences. This is not a matter thinking only of ourselves but also of others. Look what happened …. everybody were affected. Both local and international initiatives were very much visible, FELT and nobody wants to experience another Yolanda tragedy. But, we all know the effect of not being able to take good care of our environment. This is the effect of Global Warming. However, there is Prayer to keep us united in wishing, begging for this not to be so destructive. And if possible, through united prayers not to let this to happen. Act together in synergy!

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