What the Red and Orange NDRRMC Alerts Mean (and When to Panic)

The rainy season has arrived, and it's been kicked off by Tropical Storm Domeng and a subsequent monsoon. They're why the past few days have been wet and windy; why the traffic's been so bad; and why that one guy at the office has been wearing all his most obnoxious designer coats.

But Domeng and the ensuing Habagat have also prompted the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (or NDRRMC) to send out alerts via SMS. Here in Metro Manila, we've been receiving alerts since Sunday, June 10. And while there's a natural tendency to ignore these messages and just get back to your champorado-fueled Netflix binge, it does help to know what they mean. It's actually great to see the NDRRMC doing its job and keeping people posted—so the least we can do in appreciation is to understand their alerts and respond accordingly.

You'll notice that the NDRRMC sent out "RED" alerts last Sunday, explained as "Matinding pag-ulan sa Metro Manila dulot ng HABAGAT na pinalakas ng TS DOMENG, asahan ang matinding pagbaha at landslide."

Then just yesterday, shortly before all the #HINDIpendenceDay rallies, they issued an "Orange Heavy Rainfall Warning," with the same explanation.

So what do these color codes mean, exactly?

The NDRRMC alerts can be a complex as a whole, as there are different codes and levels for different types of disasters. Refer to this guide if you'd like to get acquainted with the entirety of it.

But this week's alerts ostensibly refer to the PAG-ASA Rainfall Advisory color codesThese are:



Yellow: 7.5 -15 mm rain observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next two hours. Flooding is possible in low-lying areas and near river channels.

Orange: 15-30 mm rain observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next two hours. Flooding is a threat in low-lying areas and near river channels.

Red: More than 30 mm rain observed in one hour and expected to continue in the next two hours. Serious flooding expected in low-lying areas. Take necessary precautionary measures.


There are several other codes and designations under the NDRRMC alert system, including ones for volcanic eruptions (alert level 3 and 4), earthquakes (intensity 6 and 7), and even armed conflict (crisis level 3 and 4). It helps to get familiar, and to always be prepared.

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