Every year a number of typhoons affect the Philippines. A typhoon, or hurricane, is a mature tropical cyclone. Typhoons that develop in the northwest Pacific basin are called “typhoons”. In the northeast Pacific they are called “hurricanes”.
The quietest time of year for typhoons is February. Typhoon activity grows from February to June and is at its highest during July to October.
Tropical cyclone warnings in Philippines, or “typhoon signals” are issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA, which means “hope” in Tagalog). These warnings are known as Public Storm Warning Signals (PSWS).
- PSWS #1 – Tropical cyclone winds of 30 km/h (19 mph) to 60 km/h (37 mph) expected within the next 36 hours. (Note: If a tropical cyclone forms very close to the area, then a shorter lead time is seen on the warning bulletin.) Classes are cancelled for preschools.
- PSWS #2 – Tropical cyclone winds of 60 km/h (37 mph) to 100 km/h (62 mph) expected within the next 24 hours. Classes are cancelled for high schools.
- PSWS #3 – Tropical cyclone winds of 100 km/h (62 mph) to 185 km/h (115 mph) expected within the next 18 hours. Classes are cancelled for colleges and universities
- PSWS #4 – Tropical cyclone winds of greater than 185 km/h (115 mph) expected within 12 hours.
The storm signals will usually be raised or lowered as the storm moves closer or away from the area for which the warning was issued.