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It was a laudable effort on the part of PAGASA to use color codes to simplify its Rainfall Warning System. However I instantly got confused and wondered why the “Green Warning” refers to the middle warning level when, in most cases, “green” is associated with nature and, thus, symbolizes balance and calmness. In fact, in traffic signals, the green light means “Go” or to continue with what you are doing.

It is thus confusing why “Yellow” is the basic rainfall warning signal. Again, in traffic systems, the yellow light signals “Alert” or “Warning” symbolizing that some change (whether Go or Stop) is about to happen.

For me, the hierarchy of PAGASA’s rainfall warning system should be:

  • Green: MONITOR weather conditions
  • Yellow: ALERT for possible danger and evacuation
  • Red: EVACUATE due to high potential of danger

I think PAGASA used the Yellow-Green-Red color scheme because the colors refer to the visualization of the amount of rain in their meteorological maps. This makes sense for weathermen and meteorologists — but not for the average Filipino.

New PAGASA Color-Coded Rainfall Warning Signals

This confusion is probably the reason why effective today, August 9, PAGASA and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) decided to replace the “Green” warning signal with “Orange”.

In their official website, the DOST announced that the new official rainfall warning color signals are:

  • Yellow: MONITOR weather conditions
  • Orange: ALERT for possible danger and evacuation
  • Red: EVACUATE due to high potential of danger
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The “Green” warning signal has been dropped and replaced with “Orange”. For me, this is better so as to avoid confusion. Here’s what the colored warning signals mean.

Meanings of the Color-Coded Warning Signals

The “Yellow” signal remains as the most basic level. It means that there is heavy rain — or 7.5 to 15 mm of rain has been observed in the past hour and is expected to continue at this level. Flooding is possible that’s why people must MONITOR weather conditions and listen to weather updates in order to be constantly informed.

The “Orange” signal has replaced the “Green” signal as the next level of warning. The “orange signal” means rain is intense, or in technical terms, around 15 to 30 mm of rain has been observed in the past hour and is expected to continue at this level in the next two hours. People are advised to be ALERT for possible evacuation because flood may be a definite threat.

The “Red” signal constitutes an emergency. Serious flooding is expected, especially in low lying areas, because the amount of rain has reached a critical level, that is, more than 30 mm observed in the past hour and expected to continue in the next two hours. People are advised to EVACUATE when the “Red” signal is raised in their areas.

Visual Infographic: PAGASA Rainfall Warning System

Here’s a simple infographic summarizing the meanings of the color-coded Rainfall Warning System. Share to your friends so that they will be informed.

New PAGASA Rainfall Warning Signals: Yellow, Orange, Red

Keep safe and always be alert!

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