El Niño weakens but effect still strong, says PAGASA

“The El Niño phenomenon is gradually weakening but its effect in the country within the next two months is still going to be strong.”

PAGASA-Cebu chief Alfredo Quiblat Jr. reported this in the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council meeting held recently.

He continued that the weakening El Niño is shown by the low sea surface temperature anomaly in the central and eastern Pacific.

“From 2.9 degrees Celsius anomaly or difference from the normal temperature, it reduced to 1.9 degrees Celsius in December 2015,” Quiblat explained.

Despite this, Quiblat said the effect of El Niño in the Philippines is “still strong” because of the timely dry hot season or summer from March to May.

El Niño is a phenomenon when there is a prolonged or abnormal warming in the sea surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean.

In the Philippines, El Niño started March last year and has affected many water sources, agricultural products and livestock.

Quiblat reported that the highest temperature PAGASA recorded last year was 32.6 degrees Celsius.

“Last March 20, we have recorded 32.5 degrees Celsius which is very close to that of March last year,” he said.

“The hottest temperature recorded was of May last year with 35.3 degrees Celsius. It is possible this summer’s temperature will go higher than that,” he expressed.

However, El Niño is expected to be gone by June this year.

“According to international predictions center, there will be a neutral condition after El Niño which means no El Niño and La Niña between June to August,” Quiblat explained.

He added that La Niña phenomenon may start by September.

An opposite phenomenon of El Niño, La Niña is characterized by colder temperature in the Pacific and is expected to bring more rains and floods to the affected area.