PAGASA issues El Niño alert

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
PAGASA issues El Niño alert
A resident walks on a dried up fish pond in Candaba town, Pampanga.
Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — State weather forecasters yesterday issued an El Niño alert as the country faces the threat of the dry spell.

Vicente Malano, administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said recent conditions and model forecasts indicate an 80 percent probability that El Niño will start in June, July and August and may persist until the first quarter of 2024.

“With this development, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) alert and warning system is now raised to El Niño alert,” Malano said.

El Niño is a weather condition characterized by unusually warmer than average sea surface temperatures at the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

“When conditions are favorable for the development of El Niño within the next two months at a probability of 70 percent or more, an El Niño alert is issued. El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could bring negative impacts such as dry spells and droughts in some areas of the country,” Malano said. “However, over the western part of the country, above-normal rainfall conditions during the southwest monsoon season may also be expected.”

He said all concerned government agencies as well as the public are encouraged to monitor and take precautionary measures against the impacts of the dry spell.

Analisa Solis, chief of the PAGASA Climate Monitoring and Predictions Section, warned that Mindanao would be severely affected by El Niño with at least 35 percent reduction in the amount of rainfall due to the lack or absence of typhoons.

The Visayas follows will see a 21 percent decrease in rainfall, and Luzon a 12 percent decrease.

“This means there will be a major drop in the amount of rainwater in Mindanao. They will be more affected as currently we are also experiencing a short dry season, so that’s the impact during the El Niño,” Solis added.

Citing projections, Solis said the effects of El Niño would start to be felt in the Visayas and Mindanao during the third and fourth quarters of the year.

“Since we still expect the habagat or southwest monsoon season, for now Luzon will not yet feel the effects of El Niño,” Solis noted.

She said that aside from Mindanao, areas in the Visayas that are expected to experience the dry spell and drought are Bohol and Cebu.

Based on the PAGASA forecast, Luzon will still experience near to above normal rainfall.

Solis said El Niño would increase the temperatures in the country.

“That is the effect of the coming El Niño. We are also in the dry season.

The increasing temperature is part of the pre-development of El Niño and the prevailing easterlies,” she said.

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