Pagasa issues El Niño Watch; urges public to prepare for warm, dry season
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has upgraded its monitoring of oceanic temperatures to an El Niño Watch, which means that there is a high likelihood that El Niño phenomenon would develop in the next six months.
In a statement issued on Friday, Pagasa said that the watch category in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Alert and Warning System means that the probability of El Niño being declared is at 55 percent.
An El Niño Watch is being issued when conditions are leaning toward the development of the climatic changes within the next six months.
According to Pagasa, El Niño is characterized by unusually warmer than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. As an effect, below-normal rains are expected, which can cause dry spells and droughts in several areas of the country.
“Pagasa has been continuously monitoring the [ENSO] conditions in the tropical Pacific. The final La Niña advisory was issued last March 10, 2023 with ENSO – neutral conditions now present,” Pagasa said.
“However, based on recent conditions and model forecasts, El Niño will likely develop in Jul-Aug-Sept (JAS) 2023 season and may persist until 2024. With this development, the Pagasa ENSO Alert and Warning System is now raised to El Niño Watch,” it added.
Pagasa, however, clarified that El Niño also increases the possibility of above-normal rainfall during the habagat or southwest monsoon phase of the year.
“Pagasa will continue to closely monitor the development of this ENSO phenomenon. All concerned government agencies and the general public are encouraged to keep on monitoring and take precautionary measures against the impending impacts of El Niño,” Pagasa noted.
As a precautionary measure, the agency also urged the public to take precautionary measures now that the northeast monsoon has terminated, and that the dry season has started.
“Furthermore, the number of dry and warm days across the country will continue to increase, though isolated thunderstorms are also likely to occur, especially in the afternoon or evening hours,” Pagasa said.
“The public and all concerned government agencies are advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress, optimize the daily use of water for personal and domestic consumption, and prevent any accompanying health risks associated with this climate condition,” it added.
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