The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the strong El Niño phenomenon being felt by almost the entire country will gradually weaken starting in March and until May this year.
PAGASA Climate Monitoring and Prediction Chief Anthony Lucero on Friday said the country will have normal weather conditions by he end of July. Based on Pagasa’s rainfall assessment in January, more areas experienced “way below normal” rainfall on the first nine days of February than in January.
The state weather bureau defines “way below normal” rainfall as 40 percent less than the normal amount of rainfall experienced during the period it was recorded. The normal amount of rainfall in February varies from less than 25 millimeters to more than 400 millimeters depending on the area.
The weather bureau said 26 provinces experienced drought in February while nine provinces had a dry spell.
Records from February 1 to 9 showed way below normal rainfall was experienced over the entire Mindanao, Negros, and Bohol, as well as over some parts of provinces in the Visayas, Bicol, and Mimaropa regions.
Lucero said that even though Metro Manila is not in danger of facing water rationing, he is still urging the public to conserve water.
“We would like to call on everybody to cooperate in water conservation. It may not be necessary to ration water because we still have enough. But we can all help even in a small way, like for example lowering the water pressure to conserve water,” he said.
As of Friday, Angat Dam, which supplies potable water to Metro Manila, was at 208.45 meters. Its normal high water level is 212 meters.
Lucero told The Manila Times that the weather bureau is cooperating in cloud seeding efforts with the Philippine Air Force and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“We will identify clouds that are seedable and have the potential for rainfall over a target area, kasi maaring may mga seedable clouds pero wala naman sa target area. (The clouds may be seedable but not over a target area.) And so malaki ang matitipid natin doon. (We will be able to cut costs.) We will be able to optimize our resources,” he added.
He said they have started cloud seeding over Angat Dam and now they are moving on to the Visayas and then Mindanao.
Meanwhile, concerned agencies were advised by the weather bureau to take precautionary measures and other intervention to mitigate the adverse impact of El Niño.