February 11, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The current El Niño episode is expected to remain strong throughout the month, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
In its latest seasonal climate outlook, PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said strong El Niño will persists this February, but it is expected to gradually weaken from March to May.
The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by below-average rainfall, but stronger storms.
Due to the prevailing strong El Niño, Malano said at least 31 percent of the country or 25 provinces will likely experience drought by the end of the month, while nine provinces will experience dry spell.
PAGASA described drought as three consecutive months of “way below” normal rainfall condition, while it defined a dry spell as three consecutive months of “below” normal rainfall condition.
Data showed that at risk for drought by the end of the month are the provinces of Palawan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar (Western), Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
By the end of March, Malano said about 38 percent of the country or 30 provinces will likely experience meteorological drought conditions.
He said 18 of these provinces are located in Mindanao.
Malano noted that the greatest impact of the El Niño may be felt in April, when over 80 percent of the country will be at risk for drought.
Malano said climate models still showed that the ongoing El Niño phenomenon will likely end by July.
“By then, we expect possible normalization of rainfall in the country,” he noted.