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Philippine Typhoon Signals

Updated on November 21, 2013

The Agency- PAG ASA

Just recently our country has been devastated by a super typhoon. It has killed many lives and in fact until now, many are still unaccounted for. Damage to properties were also very obvious. The typhoon has created a storm surge that wipe out almost the entire city.

Perhaps it is then important to learn about storm signals so that one can be prepared for such event and by this way, loss of lives can be prevented.

According to PAG ASA, our country is usually visited by an average of 20 plus typhoons every year. PAG ASA stands for Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. One of the main function of the agency is to maintain a nationwide network pertaining to observation and forecasting of weather and other climatological conditions affecting national safety, welfare and economy.

Important Tips

  • It is quite important to monitor for updates for weather disturbance. PAGASA normally provides weather bulletin every 5 am and normally under update in the afternoon of the same time. However, once a tropical storm develops, they may provide updates every 6 hours, every 4 hours or even perhaps every hour depending on the situation.
  • Consider having a battery operated radio as power supply may be disrupted and having such will let you monitor even without power.
  • Consider having an emergency preparedness kit or disaster preparedness kit at home. For more information of what a disaster kit, click HERE

Storm signals and strength

Signal Number 1

A storm signal number one is expected to arrive within the area within 36 hours from the moment it was forecasted. This will deliver winds of up to 30 to 60 kilometers per hour It is I important to monitor such considering that it may develop into a higher signal. However, storm signals with this strength tend to slow down after hitting lands and mountains.

Signal Number 2

Signal Number 2 is characterized by winds of greater than 60 and up to 100 kilometer per hour and may be expected in at least 24 hours once the bulletin is issued.

Signal Number 3

A tropical cyclone will affect the locality and the winds of greater than 100 up to 185 kilometer per hour may be expected in at least 18 hours.

Signal Number 4

A very intense typhoon will affect the locality. Very strong winds of more than 185 kilometer per hour may be expected in at least 12 hours.

Storm Surge Scenario
Storm Surge Scenario | Source

Storm Surge

Aside from the damage created by the wind, one should also consider that strong winds may cause additional problems. One typical problem is possibility of Storm Surge. Storm surge is the rise of water affected by the high winds pushing on the surface of the ocean. When this occurs, the water pile up higher than the ordinary level. This is particularly more dangerous when the storm surge happens on a high tide.

In fact on the latest typhoon that hit our country particularly in Tacloban City, the main cause of death was not the typhoon but rather the storm surge. As of present count, more than 4 thousand people have died and many are still unaccounted for.


Actual Event

As I have mentioned, Tacloban City was badly hit by the typhoon and what made it more devastating was the storm surge that happened in the area. Many people died and until now relief operations are ongoing.

It is hard to imagine such storm could create such devastating effect. The picture on below will show you a glimpse of how powerful the typhoon was and how the storm surge affected the area.

As you may see, several ships were even displaced towards the land. It is even believed that until now, several people are still under those ships and have not been recovered yet. Relatives are now asking for the ship owners for help to retrieve the dead bodies.


Sources: Signal strength details are from PAGASA


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    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 18 months ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      hi cclitgirl, recovery efforts are still ongoing and now that we have a new president, I guess it will be much better and faster.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 18 months ago from Western NC

      I hope the recovery efforts have helped to restore the Philippines - at least to where people can lead pretty normal lives. I was in Manila in 1995 - it was a beautiful place!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for sharing this hub. Now I know what those signals mean. We have a signal no.1 of typhoon Agaton and it´s raining too much. I wish the rain will stop as there´s already flood in our town. I´m having my "winter sleep" in our home country at this time.

    • profile image

      Pharmc843 4 years ago

      Hello! cgceecg interesting cgceecg site! I'm really like it! Very, very cgceecg good!

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Hi happyboom, I have heard about hurricanes and they obviously are destructive. As you have said, preparation is the key. There is no way we can this things from happening, but we can always make preparations prior to its coming. Thanks for dropping by and for the comment. Stay safe always!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      The loss of life and property in your country from the most recent typhoon is shocking and once again shows that we must all remain vigilant about keeping ourselves updated on storm warnings and learn all we can about survival. Storm surge, is indeed, destructive, and your picture shows its unimaginable effects.

      Thanks for sharing this well written article. In my country, we have a similar warning system about hurricanes (which goes through category 1 to category 5 depending on wind speeds). Sometimes people get lulled when they hear category I, but if the storm hits the coast at high tide, or hangs around for hours or days, it can still cause terrible damage and threaten lives. Also, the category is sometimes upgraded during the last few hours before the storm makes landfall.

      So I have learned to respect all warnings and evacuate if advised to do so.

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      It is very disturbing indeed. Many lives have been lost and houses destroyed. I am very thankful indeed for the people who have provided help. Please extend this thanks to the people in your church.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Oh my, that photo of the ships is disturbing. It must be difficult trying to put things back together for the nation. I know our church has been gathering supplies to send over to help. I learned much about the signals and found it all very interesting. Great job!