News & Information

Storm Safety in the Philippines

Written by Patrick
Travel Insurance

The Philippines may be a picture of beautiful and almost endless sunny days but the country actually experiences around 20 tropical cyclones every year, ten of those develop into storms, also referred to as typhoons and locally called bagyo.  A 2013 Time Magazine article even declared the Philippines as “the most exposed country in the world to tropical storms”.

While that fact can be a deterrent for some to visit the country, it is generally okay to explore the Philippines even during the wet season as long as you plan your itinerary accordingly.  This article will help you understand about storm signals in the Philippines and how to remain safe should you be caught in one.

Storm Signals

Storm signals are raised to warn the public about the impending meteorological conditions or weather disturbances.

Public Storm Warning System (PSWS)
Lead Time and Winds
Wind Impact
Public Storm Warning System: #1
Lead Time and Winds: Expect the impact of 30-60 kph winds in 36 hours
Wind Impact: No damage to very light damage
Public Storm Warning System: #2
Lead Time and Winds: Expect the impact of 61-120 kph winds in 24 hours
Wind Impact: Light to moderate damage
Public Storm Warning System: #3
Lead Time and Winds: Expect the impact of 121-170 kph winds in 18 hours
Wind Impact: Moderate to heavy damage
Public Storm Warning System: #4
Lead Time and Winds: Expect the impact of 171-220 kph winds in 12 hours
Wind Impact: Heavy to very heavy damage
Public Storm Warning System: #5
Lead Time and Winds: Expect the impact of more than 220 kph winds in 12 hours
Wind Impact: Very heavy to widespread damage

Safety Tips During a Storm

  1. Listen to news for information about the weather including the latest position, direction, and speed movement of the cyclone.  It is best to monitor the weather bulletin issued by PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) every six hours.
  2. Stay in safe and strong accommodations.
  3. Secure safe drinking water and foods that don’t need cooking like bread, biscuits, high-energy foods, ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.  Don’t forget a can opener too.
  4. Keep flashlights, candles, and battery-powered radios within reach. 
  5. Keep mobile phones, batteries, and power banks charged before the loss of power supply.
  6. When PSWS is upgraded to Signal #2, it is best to avoid traveling by sea and air.  Stay at home or in your hotel if possible.
  7. When PSWS is upgraded to Signal #3, staying in safe and strong houses is highly advisable. Low-lying areas as well as coasts and riverbanks must be avoided. Unnecessary travels and outdoor activities should be cancelled also to avoid risks.
  8. Do not use gas or electrical appliances submerged in floodwater and avoid wading through it to avoid electrocution and water-borne diseases.
  9. Do not panic.
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About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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