‘Very dry’ first half of 2016 seen

THE prevailing strong El Niño will further affect Philippine rainfall patterns, likely causing in 2016’s first-half “very dry” conditions, mostly across the Visayas and Mindanao.

State-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) gave such warning as this agency forecast for the January-March 2016 period below-normal to way below-normal rainfall in the country owing to El Niño.

“By the end of March, about 40 percent of the country, or 32 provinces, will likely experience meteorological drought conditions,” the weather bureau said late last week in its latest seasonal climate outlook.

Pagasa defines drought as three consecutive months of way-below-normal rainfall condition.

Such condition is characterized by more than 60-percent reduction in rainfall from average levels.

Data that Pagasa presented at this month’s El Niño forum showed at risk for drought by end of March 2016 are the central Philippine provinces of Palawan, Albay, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes all in Luzon, as well as Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Samar all in the Visayas.

Pagasa also forecast drought by then in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces all in southern Philippines’s Mindanao.

The data, likewise, showed the country can expect between 16 and 31 dry days during 2016’s first quarter. Between 26 and 31 dry days are likely in March alone across 16 of 18 regions nationwide, the data further showed.

January to March is the northeast monsoon’s peak period, but tropical cyclone activity that can bring rain to the country is at its minimum then, Pagasa noted.

For such three-month period, Pagasa forecast one to two tropical cycloness in the Philippine Area of Responsibility.


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