Pagasa declares start of hot season

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DRY season is here.

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State weather forecasters declared the start of “summer” on Wednesday, after the weakening of the “Amihan” or northeast monsoon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) marked the start of the dry season with the formation of a high-pressure area in the North Pacific Ocean over the weekend, which effectively blocked the cold Amihan winds.

“These changes in pressure with accompanying changes in wind patterns signify the termination of the (Amihan) Northeast Monsoon,” Pagasa Administrator Vicente Malano said in a statement.

The Amihan brings cold air from northern latitudes into the Philippines, usually around the Christmas season. With the Amihan’s end, the country will now experience hot and dry weather.

Hot weather in the Philippines is referred to as “dry season” and not “summer,” since there are only two weather systems in the country: dry and wet.

Pagasa said the northeast monsoon usually ends around mid-March. But there is nothing strange about it lasting until April, and this is not an effect of climate change.

This kind of weather happened in previous years, and the delay in the coming of the dry season did nothing to deter the arrival of rains.

“Summer will be shorter. This is good for us because hot weather will not last long,” Pagasa’s Aldzar Aurelio told ABS-CBN, referring to the negative effects that a prolonged dry season could have on crops.

Analiza Solis, officer in charge of Pagasa’s climate monitoring and prediction division, said this year’s weather seemed unusual but this was only because the El Niño phenomenon caused a prolonged dry season in the past two years. As a result, Filipinos got used to very hot weather.

The weather thus only reverted to its normal cycle, which was last felt in 2014.

“Dry season was longer last year, because of the effect of the strong El Niño. This year, it has normalized. Last year was unusual,” she said.

Still, Solis said the weather shift was far from certain. “All climate models during this time of the year have low scale,” she said.

As of Pagasa’s weather forecast at 5 p.m. Tuesday, cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers and isolated thunderstorms will be experienced over Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.

The regions of Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Ilocos and Central Luzon will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms will be experienced over Metro Manila and the rest of the country.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast to east will be felt over the northern part of Luzon, and coming from the northeast, over the Visayas and the rest of the northern part of Luzon. Coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough.

NLuzon, Mindanao to bear brunt
In an interview, Rusy Abastillas of the Pagasa Climate Impact Monitoring and Prediction Section told The Manila Times provinces in Northern Luzon and the lowlands of Mindanao will be affected the most by dry weather.

“Northern Luzon [areas]especially Tuguegarao and Isabela, those are the areas that are greatly affected by the highest heat temperature record,” Abastillas said.

Temperature of 38.6 degree Celsius was recorded in General Santos City in Mindanao in March last year, the “warmest” in the 2016 dry season.

This year, maximum temperature can reach 39 degree Celsius, he said. So far, the highest recorded temperature this year was in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, at 37 degrees.

Pagasa believes there will be no water shortage. “There is no problem [when it comes to water]. There is enough water level in Angat [Dam] and we are all aware that we base the water shortage from the Angat Dam,” Abastillas said.

DEMPSEY REYES

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