Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) predicts the temperature to get much warmer in the next few weeks and temperatures may surpass those within the last decade. El Niño is here and it’s going to get worse. PAG-ASA Mactan Chief Meteorologist Al Quiblat warns, “The El Niño condition is still present in the tropical Pacific and is expected to continue and may intensify from moderate to strong in the coming months.”
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology supports PAG-ASA’s forecasts, saying “The 2015 El Niño is now well-established and continues to strengthen. In the coming weeks, the central tropical Pacific Ocean may exceed the peak [temperatures] reached during the 2002 and 2009 [El Niño], but current anomalies remain well short of the 1982 and 1997 peaks.”
The worst of this El Niño is expected to occur in the later part of the year. Some parts of the country are foreseen to experience drought which means rainfall is regarded as “way below normal” or 40% of the average amount of rainfall or less for at least three consecutive months. Drought could also be five succeeding months of rainfall remaining at levels “below normal” or 41%-80% of the average.
Cebu’s rainfall is forecasted to be “below normal” from this month, August, until the end of the year while 80% of the country has been experiencing rainfall that’s “way below normal” since last May, 2015.
Damage of El Niño to Cebu
El Niño caused P58 million worth of damage to crops across the province. Several areas were declared in a state of calamity due to the alarmingly low levels of water. Read more about it on our previous article, “PAG-ASA: El Niño is Back.” Now farmers who were affected and did not avail of the government’s free insurance for their crops are having difficulty recovering from their losses.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Chief Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. describes El Niño to Freeman a “creeping disaster,” indicating the public should prepare despite not feeling the effects as they come later.
El Niño May Cause Cyclones
Though El Niño is a phenomenon when temperatures become hotter than usual and rainfall is significantly less, it doesn’t mean that no storms will be occur during this time. PAGASA Visayas Director Oscar Tabada earlier said an unusual number of tropical cyclones is expected this year, adding that because of El Niño, the behavior of tropical cyclones may become “erratic, affecting its track and intensity.”
Photo credits: Philippine Canadian Inquirer