Pagasa to public: Prepare for rainy season

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Friday, May 16, 2014

THE threat of another dry spell beginning late 2014 looms larger by the day with State weathermen reporting over 65 percent probability for drought-driving El Niño phenomenon's occurrence this year.

However, they noted such and increasing public concern over El Niño must not sidetrack people from preparing for a more pressing matter -- the rainy season's onslaught.

"People musn't lose sight of the fact that the rainy season is nearing, so they need to prepare for this accordingly," said Anthony Lucero, officer-in-charge of the Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section under government's weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Among preparations people can do in their homes in anticipation of the rainy season are repairing damaged roofs, windows and doors, declogging drainage, cleaning gutters and moving furniture and appliances to upper floors if there's a chance of flooding.

Emergency lighting and water as well as first aid are also essentials, said the authorities.

Lucero raised urgency for such preparations, noting life, limb and property must be protected from flooding, landslides and other untoward incidents during the rainy season.

"There's no El Niño yet - this may or may not develop but the country's rainy season is about to begin," he said.

Pagasa forecast late May or early June as onset of the 2014 rainy season that is associated with the southwest monsoon or "habagat."

"Habagat" affects the Philippines from July to September and is characterized by heavy rainfall that may last for a week, said Pagasa.

The agency also said "habagat" occurs when warm moist air flows over the country from the southwest direction.

"Convection over West Philippine Sea signals the 'habagat' season's start in the country," Lucero said.

According to Pagasa, latest data show deep convection over the West Philippine Sea will develop beginning next week.

Experts define convection as upward flow of air currents that condense to form clouds.

Lucero noted data also indicate full development of "habagat" beginning June's second half.

"Wet to very wet conditions will be likely from June 17 onwards," he said.

Earlier this month, Department of Science and Technology Chief Mario Montejo announced that based on Pagasa's forecast, the onset of another El Niño episode is in June 2014.

He said Pagasa made the forecast as the agency observed sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) in the Pacific increased from 0.2°C to 0.4°C during the April 21-28 period this year.

Pagasa said the SSTA threshold for an El Niño episode is 0.5°C or higher during a three-month period.

"If El Niño develops in mid-2014, however, we'll begin experiencing its impacts around this year's last quarter," Lucero said.

Such means wet conditions can be expected to prevail during the third quarter, he noted.

Pagasa weather specialist Rusy Abastillas said the rainy season is expected to proceed normally.

"Between 13 and 19 tropical cyclones can either develop in or enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility from May to October 2014," she also said.

She noted that for June, Pagasa forecast near- to above- to normal rainfall in most areas of Luzon and Northern Mindanao.

Near- to above-normal rainfall is also expected in July in most parts of Luzon and the Visayas, she said, adding that most parts of the country will likely experience near- to above-normal rainfall in August. (PNA)

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