Drought likely to continue haunting PHL

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Nov. 11 (PNA) — The prevailing strong drought-driving El Nino phenomenon is threatening to cause further challenges to the country early next year.

Data from the government’s weather and climate authority Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) released Wednesday indicate the possibility of drought increasingly gripping the country.

“Significant reduction in rainfall is predicted over most parts of the country beginning this November until April 2016,” PAGASA senior weather specialist Anthony Lucero said Wednesday during a forum in Metro Manila.

He likewise noted dry conditions will likely affect most parts of country during such period.

PAGASA data further show nationwide drought incidence as possibly soaring and peaking in 2016’s first semester.

“By the end of January 2016, some 16 percent of the country will likely experience drought,” said Lucero.

He noted such incidence can rise to some 39 percent and an even higher 60 percent by the end of February and March next year, respectively.

PAGASA forecast the nationwide drought incidence as possibly peaking at around 83 percent by April’s end.

Such drought will likely begin easing to some 50 percent around the end of May when PAGASA expects onset of the rain-driving southwest monsoon or “habagat”.

“The current El Nino is forecast to persist until theMarch-April-May 2016 period,” noted Lucero.

He said latest available data also show the strong El Nino at present will likely further strengthen in the tropical Pacific.

PAGASA is still not discounting the possibility that such El Nino can become the strongest of its kind so far, he continued.

According to PAGASA, drought is a condition marked by three consecutive months of way below-normal rainfall — over 60 percent reduction from average rainfall.

Drought can also be five consecutive months of below-normal rainfall marking a 21 percent to 60 percent reduction from average rainfall, it noted.

Earlier this year, PAGASA warned of drought in several provinces nationwide.

According to Lucero, the latest forecast indicate one to two tropical cyclones (TCs) can occur this November in the country despite El Nino.

He said PAGASA forecast between zero to one TC for each of December, January, February, March and April, however.

Each of May and June can have one to two TCs, he continued.

In its latest forecast, PAGASA cited Camarines Norte and Sarangani provinces as possibly experiencing drought this November’s end.

Camarines Norte and Antique provinces will likely be under drought by December’s end, PAGASA continued.

Forecasting occurrence of way below-normal rainfall, PAGASA expects afterwards an increase in number of provinces possibly experiencing drought .

Possible drought-stricken provinces by January’s end are Benguet, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Laguna, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Camarines Norte all in Luzon as well as Aklan, Antique and Guimaras in the Visayas.

By February’s end, provinces likely under drought are Luzon’s Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Laguna, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan and Camarines Norte; the Visayas’ Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras,Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental as well as Mindanao’s Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

Expected to be under drought by March’s end are Luzon-based Abra, Bemguet, ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Bataan,Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Aurora, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan and Albay provinces; the Visayas’ Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Samar provinces as well asMindanao’s Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Davao del Sur, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-tawi provinces.

Drought-afflicted areas by April’s end are Metro Manila as well as the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao. Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Aurora, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal,Quezon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol,Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte, Zamboana del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidenetal, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

Provinces possibly under drought by May’s end are Benguet, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Aurora, Cavite, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Bohol,Siquijor, Biliran, Samar, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Sur.

Aside from drought, PAGASA forecast occurrence of the dry spell in various areas nationwide this month until May next year.

Dry spell is a condition marked by three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, said PAGASA.

PAGASA added dry spell can be two consecutive months of way below-normal rainfall. (PNA)