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It’s official: Wet season is here

/ 06:40 PM June 10, 2014

A sudden downpour in Manila  INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—It’s time to bring out the rain gear, maybe even the rubber boats. The weather bureau officially declared on Tuesday the onset of the rainy season.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecasters said that the southwest monsoon—habagat in Filipino or “baha-gat” to punsters— has become the dominant weather system, signifying the start of the wet season.

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While a low pressure area, which on Tuesday evolved into tropical depression “Ester,” triggered the onset of the monsoon, the weather disturbance was expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Wednesday.

According to Pagasa acting administrator Vicente Malano, “The prevailing synoptic conditions over the country are now characterized by southwesterly windflow, high humidity, and occurrence of daily rainshowers and thunderstorms. This development signifies the onset of the rainy season over the western section of the country.”

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He said that from July through August above normal rainfall in most parts of the country and monsoon breaks lasting for several days could be expected.

“Meanwhile the unusual warming of sea surface temperature over the tropical Pacific indicates the development of El Niño,” Malano said, adding that the phenomenon would develop from this month to August and that many parts of the country would likely experience below normal rainfall by September.

Forecaster Buddy Javier told the Inquirer that tropical depression “Ester” was the first of two or three tropical cyclones expected to enter the PAR this month but would not linger long.

According to the Pagasa as of 4 p.m., Ester was moving farther away from the PAR and was estimated to be 200 kilometers north-northeast of Basco, Batanes, with maximum winds of 55 kph near the center. It was moving northeast at 22 kph.

Public storm warning signal No. 1 was hoisted over the Batanes group of islands where winds of 30 kph to 60 kph were expected and residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas were alerted to possible flashfloods and landslides.

The estimated amount of rainfall within the 250-km diameter of the tropical depression was placed at 5 millimeters to 15 millimeters per hour.

By Wednesday morning Ester is expected to exit the PAR.

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Ester is expected to enhance the habagat or the southwest monsoon and bring moderate to heavy rains over the Ilocos Region and over the provinces of Zambales and Bataan, Pagasa said.

While Luzon is expected to experience monsoon rains on Wednesday, the Visayas and Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Javier said that rains spawned by the habagat this month were not expected to be torrential unlike when the southwest monsoon peaks in the months of July, August and September.

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