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WIDE CLOUD COVER This satellite image shows clouds covering the entire Philippines, which is experiencing “a really strange weather.” The weather bureau says provinces that are supposed to be dry at this time are experiencing heavy rains. PAGASA


‘Strange weather’ –PAGASA

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:12:00 01/18/2011

Filed Under: Weather

MANILA, Philippines?Provinces that are supposed to be dry this time of the year are experiencing heavy rains, another effect of the La Niña phenomenon in the Philippines, a weather official said Monday.

The weather has been acting so ?strange? since the country entered the La Niña period that it changes almost every hour, said Graciano Yumul Jr., officer in charge of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

PAGASA also observed that provinces that are not usually affected by the cold front and the northeast monsoon, which bring rains, have been affected by these weather systems this year.


?This is really strange weather ? There is just a lot of water,? Yumul said in a phone interview.

Palawan and Western Visayas are supposed to be dry during this month, Yumul said. But there were reports that parts of these regions?like Narra in Palawan; the cities of Talisay and Bacolod in Negros Occidental; and Iloilo City?were getting rains and flash floods, he added.

Palawan had been under heavy rains since last December, according to Yumul. Western Visayas has received light rains at the start of the year, but since last week, the precipitation has not abated, but even intensified, he said.

The cloud band from the cold front is expected to stay over Western Visayas until the middle of this week. These regions will experience rains until March, Yumul said.

Swift change

The changes in weather patterns have been swift, the PAGASA chief said. ?Monitoring cannot be done daily anymore. What is true now may not be true in an hour,? Yumul said.

Manila, for instance, was only supposed to experience a ?drizzle? last weekend. But in a matter of hours, the northeast monsoon moved upward, allowing the tail end of the cold front to hover above the city, bringing moderate rains, he said.

Contrary to forecast

In contrast, Mindanao was relatively clear last weekend, contrary to the forecast, Yumul said.

Weathermen announced that the Philippines entered the La Niña period last October. The phenomenon, the opposite of El Niño, occurs when the surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean gets colder. El Niño refers to the increase in the temperature in the oceans.

In the Western Pacific, the La Niña phenomenon results in stronger storms and heavier rains.

Weather officials said La Niña would continue until May. It is also expected to bring stronger and frequent storms in the country this year.

Since last December, parts of the country have been getting more heavy rains than usual. The eastern seaboard, particularly the Bicol region and the Samar-Leyte provinces, has been saturated by rainfall, PAGASA said.

Country cloudy

In a weather advisory issued Monday morning, PAGASA said the entire country would be affected by the northeast monsoon and the cold front in the next 24 hours.

?The combined effect of northeast monsoon and tail end of a cold front over the whole country will bring mostly cloudy skies with light rains over northern and central Luzon,? PAGASA said.

?Moreover scattered to widespread rains over southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, particularly in Palawan, Bicol region, Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao may trigger flash floods and landslides,? it added.

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