• Isolated thunderstorms help reduce scorching heat

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    The state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that isolated thunderstorms which occurred on Thursday and Friday in some parts of the country have helped the public reduce the feeling of scorching heat due to the dry season.

    In a phone interview with PAGASA Climate Monitoring and Prediction officer-in-charge Anthony Lucero, he said this event is part of the seasonal change. Although the dry season will end between the last week of May and the first week of June, El Niño is expected to weaken in the months ahead.

    “Yes we will still expect hotter days, but the El Niño will get weaker. In the previous years, our record high temperature is observed in the month of May, if I will be asked when will this hot season end, it will be until the month of June, but after that, we can say that southwest monsoon or habagat will herald and that will be the start of the rainy season,” Lucero told The Manila Times.

    “Ang nagdadala kasi ng init sa bansa natin ay ang hanging easterlies kapag dumating na ang habagat tatalunin niya ‘yan. Dominant na yung habagat at bahagyang lalamig na ang panahon. [It is the easterly winds which bring heat to our country, and these are overcome by westerly winds. Westerly winds are now dominate, and the weather will become cooler],” he added.

    He said the total rain volume will be less compared to previous years, but rainy days will be more frequent.

    According to him, the country will continue to experience generally temperatures warmer than the average in the last coming days of April.

    Just last Wednesday, the heat index or actual temperature perceived or felt by the human body based on air temperature and humidity reached 52.3 degrees Celsius in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. This is just two degrees below what PAGASA considers the “extreme danger” level, when heatstroke is imminent.

    Metro Manila, meanwhile, stewed with a heat index of 37.9 degrees on Thursday noon.
    However, according to Lucero, he doesn’t want to emphasize it, and just refers to the heat index.

    “Ayoko mag refer sa heat index. Para sa akin, hindi ako sumasang ayon. Ang heat index ay ang temperature na nararamdaman ng katawan. Kung sasabihin ko na ang heat index is 51 degrees, my question is, nakaranas ka na ba ng init sa katawan na 51 degrees? [I do not want to refer to the heat index. I do not agree. Heat index is the temperature felt by the body. If you say that the heat index is 51 degrees, my question is, does your body temperature feel like 51 degrees?]” Lucero asked.

    “The highest recorded temperature lang natin ay 42 degrees. Ang sinasabi ay how you feel it. Hindi pa tayo nakakaranas niyan. Second, kung sasabihin natin 51 degrees nga, ang 41 degrees pa nga lang ay nag kukumbulsyon na ang bata eh, how much more kung 51 na kaya ayaw ko na muna bigyan ng emphasis,” he explained.

    According to PAGASA, high temperatures and high relative humidity will give high apparent temperatures or indices. Full exposure to sunshine can also increase the heat index by nine degrees.

    Lucero pointed out that water supply is still enough for everyday consumption of the public.

    “Mataas ang level natin sa mga dam, lalong lalo na sa Angat dam, Actually mas mataas nga ito ng 4 meters than the water level last year [The (water) level of Angat Dam is high. Actually, it’s higher than last year’s level by 4 meters],” Lucero said.

    Angat Dam in Bulacan, which supplies most of Metro Manila water, on Friday had a reservoir water level of 195.50 meters. It has a normal high water level of 212 meters.

    The weather bureau advises the public to stay indoors as much as possible, wear lightweight and colored clothing, drink plenty of water, avoid drinking liquor, eat small meals, and avoid eating foods high in protein.

    At least seven provinces and 12 cities have been placed under a state of calamity due to the widespread effects of El Niño.

    According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), as of last March, a total of 252,176 hectares of agricultural land nationwide have been affected by the extreme heat.

    PAGASA said they will continue to closely monitor the on-going El Niño condition, while concerned agencies are advised to take precautionary actions and intervention measures to mitigate adverse impacts of El Niño.

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