Ilocos Region braces for El Niño

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THE Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) on Monday urged Ilocos Region residents to prepare for a dry spell and lesser than usual rainfall starting next month.

Engr. Fredolina Baldonado, Pagasa director for Northern Luzon warned that the El Niño phenomenon, which can cause excessive drought, may last for nine months.

“It is foreseen that the onset of El Niño this June may peak during the last quarter of 2014 and may last up to the first quarter of 2015,” said Baldonado as she urged the public to save water in anticipation of the dry season.

“Saving water is proven to have been the most effective way to mitigate the effect of warm temperature and the prolonged drought,” Baldonado said.


Besides saving water, she also urged the public to “stop cutting trees which causes ecological imbalance.”

“We also need to plant more trees to preserve and make our environment more resilient against any calamities,” Baldonado said.

El Niño is an unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific (CEEP).

Weather experts explained that the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) over the tropical Pacific remained to be El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which is neutral during the past months.

Experts however said that the established threshold of SSTA for an El Niño phenomenon is 0.5°C or higher during a three-month period and that there was a significant increase in the SSTA from 0.2 to 0.4°C from April 21 to April 28, 2014.

Baldonado said that with this development, climate models predict that this condition may persist until February 2015.

Meanwhile, the provincial health office of Ilocos Norte has issued a health warning for possible occurrence of food-born diseases due to hot weather these summer months.

Provincial health officer Dr. Artemio Gambalan said microbes tend to multiply faster as temperature rises.

He also warned the public of diseases and conditions common during the hottest time of the year such as sunburn, flu, sore eyes, stomach ailments, skin diseases and rabies.

“We must be very careful in eating street foods this summer because there is a high possibility of food contamination due to warm temperature,” Gambalan said.

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