Long episode of El Niño seen
Though it is currently “weak,” the El Niño weather phenomenon associated with dry conditions in the country will strengthen toward the end of the year, the weather bureau warned on Wednesday.
In its latest advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the latest analyses showed that the latest El Niño episode will be a prolonged one.
“Recent analyses from global climate models suggest that the ongoing El Niño condition will likely continue until mid-2015 with chances of strengthening toward the end of the year,” Pagasa said in its advisory dated May 6.
But it said there will be some respite for at least 46 provinces that have been suffering from drought or a dry spell because of reduced rainfall since December last year.
It said dry conditions will start to ease this May with the weakening of the easterlies, or hot and humid winds, while the rains will come in mid-June with the onset of the rainy season.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterized by unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
In the western Pacific where the Philippines is located, the phenomenon brings about dry conditions, decreased rainfall and warmer air temperatures.
Pagasa said 45 provinces have been suffering from drought or dry-spell conditions as of April.
Of these, Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Biliran and Cavite will continue to suffer from extended dry conditions this month while Cebu will officially be considered to be suffering from a dry spell.
Pagasa said dry conditions in 41 affected provinces will ease this month. Air temperatures are also expected to decrease this month in most parts of the country, it said.
Pagasa said rainfall will likely be near normal over the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Cagayan Valley, Northern Mindanao, Caraga and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao this May.
The rest of the country will experience below-normal rainfall conditions.
“It is expected that 41 provinces will receive enough rainfall that may improve the existing dry conditions,” the weather bureau said.
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