Pagasa: Probability of El Niño now at least 80%
MANILA, Philippines — The occurrence of an El Niño phenomenon this year has become more likely, with now a probability of at least 80 percent, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said on Tuesday.
Pagasa deputy administrator Esperanza Cayanan said the probability of an El Niño occurrence has increased from 55 percent to 80 percent in June, July, August, and September.
Meanwhile, the probability of an El Niño occurrence in November, December, and January is 87 percent.
With this, the Pagasa is poised to issue an El Niño Alert next month.
“From El Niño Watch, by next month May, we will be issuing the second level, which is El Niño Alert, kung saan mayroon na tayong 76 percent probability of El Niño occurrence for the next two months,” Cayanan said.
Pagasa issued an El Niño Watch in March, the first level of the agency’s El Niño warning system.
The weather bureau, however, clarified that before the looming onset of an El Niño, the Philippines would first experience a rainy season.
Cayanan warned that heavy rainfalls might occur before the onset of the phenomenon.
“From previous experience natin, pwede tayong makaexperience ng extreme rainfall event like Ondoy noong 2009 wherein nagkaroon ng El Niño noong 2009 to 2010. Bago maramdaman ‘yung kakulangan sa tubig, nakaexperience tayo ng extreme rainfall events,” she said.
(From our previous experience, we may have extreme rainfall events like Ondoy in 2009, where we experienced an El Niño from 2009 to 2010. Before we experienced the water shortage, we experienced extreme rainfall events.)
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.