‘Zigzag’ in your area: An unusual tropical cyclone name for 2023

April 11, 2023 - 1:19 PM
An image of an eye of a cyclone (Image by WikiImages from Pixabay)

Amid the release of the list of this year’s assigned tropical cyclone names, one identifier has been gaining the attention of online Filipinos.

The Facebook page of People’s Television Network (PTV) shared the state weather bureau’s names for the anticipated tropical cyclones for 2023, which were previously made public earlier this year.

This was shared after the first tropical cyclone entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that Tropical Depression Amang is accelerating as it moves westward towards the coast of Catanduanes in the Bicol Region as of 11 a.m.

Its current forecast track shows that while it will remain offshore over the waters of Luzon, a landfall scenario over the Bicol Peninsula area is not ruled out, especially within the next 36 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 is hoisted over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Marinduque, Burias Island, Ticao Island, Masbate, Polilio Island, and some parts of Quezon Province.

Residents of these areas are advised to prepare for heavy rainfall that may trigger flooding, landslides, and winds having strong breezes to near gale strength.

Meanwhile, one name stood out as PTV on Monday shared the list of Pagasa’s assigned names to the tropical cyclones expected to enter PAR this year.

This is “Zigzag,” the last name on the list.

Pagasa’s assigned names usually conjure a persona or an individual because of how it uses identifiers that can be the name of someone.

“Zigzag” is not a conventional name when it comes to giving identifiers to tropical cyclones.

“Zigzag?!” a Facebook user reacted to PTV’s post.

“Waiting for ZIG-ZAG,” another online user commented.

“Pinakamalakas [diyan] Zigzag,” quipped a different Pinoy.

Similar thoughts were shared last January, when Pagasa first released the list of this year’s tropical cyclone names.

According to some Filipinos, the names seemed “unserious.”

Others suggested that the state weather bureau assign more threatening-like names to tropical cyclones so people could supposedly take them seriously in terms of preparation.

“Eto isang rason kung bakit madaming namamatay sa bagyo dahil ayaw lumikas eh. ‘Yung pangalan ng mga bagyo ‘di kasi nakakatakot. Pangalanan mo mga bagyo ng ‘Super Typhoon Kamatayan 2000’ — baka isang linggo bago landfall eh magsilikas lahat ‘yan,” a Twitter user wrote before.

Naming storms is a standard among weather bureaus worldwide.

Yahoo Southeast Asia reported that Pagasa launched a “Name A Bagyo” contest in 1998, asking Filipinos to submit all the names they want to use for storms that enter PAR.

A committee chose about 140 names from the nominations in 1999.

A former Pagasa public information unit chief said that as of 2013, the set of names has not changed since the naming system took effect in 2001.

The tropical cyclone names are also reused every four years, except if it has caused 300 or more deaths or left P1 billion or more damage in its wake.

Filipinos will see the same series of names this year by the years 2027, 2031 and 2035.

ALSO READ: ‘Unserious?’: Pagasa’s list of 2023 tropical cyclone names earns online buzz