In a recent advisory dated November 9, 2023, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) sounded a weather alert, predicting El Niño-induced dry periods that are expected to impact 47 provinces across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao by the end of November.
Dry Spell Forecasts for Key Provinces
Nathaniel Servando, the Officer in Charge at Pagasa, pointed out that 10 provinces are on the brink of experiencing a significant dry spell. Notably, Kalinga and Apayao in the Cordillera region are among those affected, alongside Cagayan, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Oriental Mindoro, and Palawan in Luzon, with Guimaras in the Visayas. Additionally, an additional 37 provinces are on high alert for potential dry conditions.
Luzon Provinces Under Threat
The list of Luzon provinces facing the risk of dry conditions includes Marinduque, Quezon, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Aurora, Rizal, Romblon, Spratly Islands, Albay, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, and the National Capital Region.
Visayas and Mindanao on Alert for Dry Conditions
In the Visayas, dry conditions are anticipated in Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, and Southern Leyte. Notably, the Dinagat Islands in Mindanao are specifically expected to face a dry spell.
Cordillera Region Facing Dry Spells and Conditions
In the Cordillera region:
Dry Spells (Expected):
Dry Conditions (Expected):
- Benguet (includes Baguio City)
- Mountain Province
Decoding Dry Spells and Conditions
Pagasa defines a dry spell as three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or a 21 to 60 percent drop in average rainfall. A dry condition involves two consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or a 21 to 60 percent reduction in average rainfall.
Temperature Trends and El Niño Impact
Pagasa's temperature outlook suggests near-average to warmer-than-average conditions in most regions. However, slightly cooler to cooler-than-average temperatures are expected in Benguet, San Jose in Occidental Mindoro, and Coron in Palawan. Cold temperature surges may also be experienced during the month.
El Niño's Strengthening and Potential Impact
Servando emphasized the presence of a moderate-to-strong El Niño prevailing in the tropical Pacific, intensifying as sea surface temperatures exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. This raises concerns about below-normal rainfall conditions, potentially leading to dry spells and droughts in some areas until the first quarter of next year. Servando highlighted the potential adverse effects on vital sectors such as water resources, agriculture, energy, health, public safety, and other key sectors. The Cordillera region, including Kalinga, Apayao, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, and Mountain Province, is urged to stay vigilant and prepare for the challenges posed by the upcoming weather conditions.
Preparation and Mitigation Measures
Residents in areas prone to El Niño-induced dry spells and conditions, especially in the Cordillera region, are urged to take proactive measures to minimize potential impacts. Here are essential steps and recommendations:
Water Conservation: Practice efficient water use by fixing leaks, using water-saving appliances, and employing responsible water management techniques.
Crop Diversification: Farmers should consider planting drought-resistant crops and diversifying their crop selections to adapt to varying weather conditions.
Early Harvesting: When possible, conduct early harvesting to secure crops before the onset of prolonged dry spells, reducing the risk of yield loss.
Monitoring Weather Advisories: Stay informed through official weather advisories from Pagasa and local authorities. Regularly check updates on rainfall predictions, temperature trends, and other relevant information.
Community Collaboration: Foster a sense of community preparedness by sharing information, organizing workshops, and collaborating on water-saving initiatives.
Government Guidelines: Adhere to guidelines and recommendations provided by local government units. Governments often issue specific directives and assistance programs during periods of extreme weather events.
Health Precautions: Take health precautions, especially in terms of waterborne diseases. Ensure access to clean water sources and practice good hygiene to prevent health issues related to water scarcity.
Emergency Kits: Prepare emergency kits that include essential items such as water, non-perishable food, medical supplies, and important documents. Be ready for potential disruptions in regular services.
Livelihood Adaptation: Explore alternative livelihood strategies that are resilient to weather fluctuations, ensuring economic stability even in the face of El Niño impacts.
Government Support Programs: Take advantage of government support programs designed to assist communities and sectors affected by extreme weather conditions. These may include financial aid, agricultural assistance, and infrastructure development initiatives.
Residents are encouraged to collaborate with local authorities, engage in community-driven initiatives, and stay vigilant throughout the forecasted period. Proactive preparation and adherence to official guidelines can significantly mitigate the potential challenges posed by El Niño.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is El Niño, and how does it impact weather patterns in the Philippines?
El Niño refers to the periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. It can lead to disruptions in weather patterns, causing conditions like prolonged dry spells and droughts in certain regions, including the Philippines.
2. Which provinces in the Cordillera region are expected to face dry spells, and what measures can residents take to prepare?
Kalinga and Apayao in the Cordillera region are among the provinces anticipating dry spells. Residents are advised to conserve water, implement water-efficient practices, and stay informed through official weather advisories.
3. Besides Kalinga and Apayao, which other provinces in the Cordillera region are likely to experience dry conditions, and what precautions should residents take?
Abra, Benguet (including Baguio City), Ifugao, and Mountain Province are also expected to face dry conditions. Residents are urged to adopt water-saving measures and stay updated through official channels.
4. How does Pagasa define a dry spell, and what distinguishes it from a dry condition?
Pagasa defines a dry spell as three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or a 21 to 60 percent drop in average rainfall. In contrast, a dry condition involves two consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or a 21 to 60 percent reduction in average rainfall.
5. What are the potential consequences of El Niño on temperature trends, and which areas are likely to experience cooler temperatures?
Pagasa's temperature outlook suggests near-average to warmer-than-average conditions in most regions. However, slightly cooler to cooler-than-average temperatures are expected in Benguet, San Jose in Occidental Mindoro, and Coron in Palawan.
6. How long is the El Niño expected to last, and what sectors are most vulnerable to its impacts?
The El Niño is anticipated to prevail until the first quarter of the following year. Sectors sensitive to climate variations, including water resources, agriculture, energy, health, public safety, and others, may face adverse effects.
7. What proactive measures can be taken by climate-sensitive sectors to mitigate the impact of El Niño?
Climate-sensitive sectors can implement water conservation practices, adopt drought-resistant crops, and enhance monitoring systems. Collaborating with meteorological agencies and adhering to official advisories will be essential in navigating through the challenges posed by El Niño.
8. How does Pagasa assess the strength of El Niño, and what factors contribute to its intensification?
Pagasa evaluates the strength of El Niño based on sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. It intensifies as temperatures exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. Factors such as sea surface temperature anomalies play a crucial role in this assessment.
9. Where can residents and authorities access official weather advisories and stay updated on El Niño developments?
Official weather advisories from Pagasa can be accessed through their official website, local news channels, and government communication channels. Staying tuned to reliable sources ensures timely information on El Niño developments and necessary precautions.
10. How do cold temperature surges factor into El Niño, and which areas might experience these surges?
Cold temperature surges can occur during El Niño. While most regions can expect near-average to warmer-than-average temperatures, slightly cooler to cooler-than-average temperatures may be experienced in specific areas, including Benguet, San Jose in Occidental Mindoro, and Coron in Palawan.
11. Can El Niño lead to long-term changes in climate patterns, and how might this impact future weather conditions in the Philippines?
El Niño can contribute to long-term changes in climate patterns, potentially influencing future weather conditions in the Philippines. Monitoring and research initiatives play a crucial role in understanding these impacts and adapting strategies to address evolving climate patterns.
As the Cordillera region braces for impending dry spells and conditions due to the intensifying El Niño, heightened awareness and preparation become crucial. Residents, authorities, and relevant sectors are advised to stay vigilant and implement necessary measures to mitigate potential adverse effects on water resources, agriculture, and other key areas. Pagasa's ongoing monitoring and advisories will play a pivotal role in guiding the region through these challenging weather conditions.