PAGASA: Less typhoons this year due to El Niño
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - December 22, 2015 - 1:26am

MANILA, Philippines - State weather bureau PAGASA on Tuesday said that the less number of typhoons that entered the Philippines this year is due to the presence of El Niño, which affected the track of tropical cyclones.

An average of 19 to 20 typhoons affect the country every year but only 15 entered the Philippines in 2015, PAGASA senior weather forecaster Vic Manalo said.

Manalo noted that warm ocean conditions have been observed since November last year, showing that El Niño was already in progress.

The El Niño phenomenon is forecasted to last until the first quarter of 2016.

It occurs when sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial pacific become warmer than normal. This occurs every two to seven years.

The El Niño is the opposite of the La Niña phenomenon which is associated with wetter conditions.

Manalo noted that it was in 2007 when the country last experienced 15 tropical cyclones.

The country experienced 11 tropical cyclones in 2010, 19 in 2011, 17 in 2012, 25 in 2013 and 19 in 2014.

Meanwhile, the weather bureau has decommissioned the name Lando from the list of typhoons due to its damage on lives and property this year.

"There are certain requirements in decommissioning the names of tropical cyclones. If it caused 300-400 casualties and P1 billion or above cost of damage, then the name will be eliminated from the list and will be replaced by another name," Manalo said.

The amount of damage due to Typhoon Lando has reached P9.8 billion and left 47 people dead.

READ: 'Lando' damages P7.3 billion worth of crops, infra

The name Lando was last used in 2011 and will be replaced by Liwayway.

PAGASA is also set to decommission Nona, which left 41 people dead and damaged up to P4.9 billion worth of agriculture and infrastructure.

READ: 'Nona' damages P320 million worth of agri, infra

The weather bureau has been decommissioning "extraordinarily destructive storms" since February 1979.

Other previously decommissioned names are:

  • Pepeng (Parma) which killed 465 people and destroyed P27.3 billion in property and infrastructure in 2009
  • Frank (Fengshen) which caused P13.5 billion in damage and 557 deaths in 2008
  • Ondoy (Ketsana) which killed 464 people and caused P11 billion in damage in 2009
  • Yolanda (Haiyan) which caused massive death and destruction in the Visayas in 2013

The sets of tropical cyclone names are used every four years, PAGASA said. An auxiliary list is used in case the number of tropical cyclones within the year exceeds 25.

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