PAGASA warns of heat stroke

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The state weather bureau has cautioned the public against too much sun exposure that could lead to heat stroke as temperatures nationwide begin to rise.

Vicente Malano, acting administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), yesterday said the country should expect warmer days with the imminent start of the dry season.

“The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need to optimize daily use of water for personal and domestic consumption,” he added.

PAGASA said the dry season has yet to officially begin as the northeast monsoon is still expected to bring colder winds in the northernmost parts of the country this week.

However, weather forecasters said they have noticed a shift in wind direction to easterly, which brings hotter air from the Pacific Ocean.

The weather bureau said the hottest temperature recorded so far this year was 38.6 degrees Celsius in General Santos City last March 1.

The hottest temperature in history was recorded twice in Tuguegarao City at 42.2 degrees Celsius on April 22, 1912 and May 11, 1969.

PAGASA deputy administrator for research and development Flaviana Hilario stressed that the actual temperature felt by the public would be hotter than the air temperature when humidity is factored in.

She said they would study the possibility of issuing color-coded warnings similar to rainfall advisories to alert the public of the heat index.

More drought

Anthony Joseph Lucero of the PAGASA climate impact monitoring and prediction section said El Niño is expected to gradually weaken in the next months.

He noted that the climate is expected to return to mild condition in July.

Lucero warned that more provinces, mostly in Mindanao, would experience drought in the next months, particularly in April when 30 provinces are expected to be affected.

Eighteen provinces experienced drought in February, and this is expected to increase to 19 this month.

Hilario explained that drought is declared based on rainfall data in the past three months, hence the prediction of the increase in number of those that will be affected despite the weakening of El Niño.

Lucero added that El Niño is still classified as strong and that the dry season should also be considered.

PAGASA said they are coordinating with the national and local government units to help address effects of the drought.

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