PAGASA warns: Hotter days ahead in May

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
PAGASA warns: Hotter days ahead in May
Amid the scorching heat, Marlon Canaway prepares different flavors of ‘sorbetes’ or dirty ice cream, to be sold in Mandaluyong City yesterday.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines —  Prepare for hotter days and nights ahead, surpassing the already scorching heat as temperatures could reach over 40 degrees Celsius in the coming weeks.

The forecast maximum temperature for May had been breached earlier this week, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

This comes as 40 degrees Celsius was recorded on April 15 in Isa town in Isabela province, Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section chief Ana Solis told radio dzXL.

“We expect other areas could experience hotter temperatures,” she added.

Hotter days are still coming as the Philippines is being affected by a ridge of a high-pressure area, she noted.

The warm and dry season and El Niño are contributing to soaring temperatures.

Even as El Niño is already weakening, its effects may continue to be felt until June, Solis noted.

The onset of the wet season could be declared later than usual, or in the first or second week of June or later, due to the possibility of the development of La Niña.

The public is advised to take protective measures against the scorching heat.

At least 20 areas are expected to reach dangerous heat index temperatures of 42 to 43 degrees Celsius today.

PAGASA warned of heat cramps and heat exhaustion, with heat stroke probable with continued exposure.

1.14 million affected

More than 1.14 million Filipinos in nine regions have already been affected by El Niño while summer is not even halfway through, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Some 244,712 families in 1,257 barangays comprised this number, based on the April 14 report of the DSWD’s Disaster Response Operations Monitor Center.

Affected families have received P37.8 million worth of assistance such as family food packs and other relief items. The DSWD provided P32.8 million and other partners gave around P5 million.

A standby fund, currently pegged at P164.5 million in Quick Response Fund, has been made available at the DSWD central office while another P78.49 million is available in field offices.

“The effects of El Niño were felt in the Philippines, with conditions leading to agricultural damage and water shortages reported in various regions,” the report said.

The most affected regions are Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula, Soccsksargen, Cordillera Administrative Region and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In Central Luzon, the town of Capas, Tarlac had reported as early as February 2023 that the livelihood of farmers, predominantly from indigenous families, has been severely affected by El Niño.

In Mimaropa, several local government units (LGUs) in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro declared a state of calamity due to severe drought, while farmers in towns in Romblon have experienced “exacerbating challenges” due to diminishing water sources for crucial crop irrigation.

In Western Visayas, the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental also reported damage to crops, agricultural land and livestock.

A state of calamity was declared in Cebu City in Central Visayas and several LGUs in Sultan Kudarat and Northern Cotabato in Soccsksargen and Zamboanga City in Zamboanga peninsula.

In Cordillera, the effects of severe drought have become more prevalent in the provinces of Abra, Apayo, Ifugao and Mountain Province, which led to damage to crops and animal population.

In BARMM, the municipality of Hadji Muhtamad in Basilan experienced water shortage and insufficient crop supply due to the effects of El Niño, resulting in food scarcity. – Sheila Crisostomo

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