By Ma. Cristina Arayata
MANILA – The weather bureau issued an El Niño alert on Tuesday, saying the weather phenomenon might emerge between June and July at 80 percent probability and might persist until the first quarter of 2024.
El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could have negative impacts, such as dry spells and droughts, in some areas of the country.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), however, said above-normal rainfall conditions during the southwest monsoon season (“habagat”) may also be expected over the western part of the country.
“With this development, the PAGASA El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Alert and Warning System is now raised to El Niño Alert. El Niño (warm phase of ENSO) is characterized by unusually warmer than average sea surface temperatures at the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. When conditions are favorable for the development of El Niño within the next two months at a probability of 70 percent or more, an El Niño alert is issued,” PAGASA said.
On April 18, PAGASA Deputy Administrator Esperanza Cayanan said the chances for an El Niño between June and August have increased from 55 percent to 80 percent. The probability of El Niño between November and January 2024 also rose to about 87 percent.
Drought or dry spells may be felt towards the last quarter of 2023 and it is possible to experience heavy rainfall before seeing the effects of El Niño because of the “habagat” season in June to September, she added.
PAGASA said it would continue to closely monitor the development of the phenomenon.
“All concerned government agencies and the general public are encouraged to keep on monitoring and take precautionary measures against the impending impacts of El Niño,” it said. (PNA)