Strong El Niño persists. Positive sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) continue across most of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Computer models suggest that the on-going strong El Niño is expected to gradually weaken through March-April-May 2016 season and ENSO-neutral is favored by May-June-July (MJJ) 2016.
The weather systems that affected the country during the month of January were the Northeast (NE) monsoon, tail-end of a cold front, and easterlies. No tropical cyclone entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Rainfall assessment in January showed that most parts of the country received way below to below normal rainfall condition except for near normal rainfall conditions experienced in the provinces of Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, Bataan, Aurora, Batangas, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Negros Occidental, Cebu and Southern Leyte.
Further analysis showed that twelve (12) provinces were affected by dry spell while seventeen (17) provinces experienced drought conditions mostly from Visayas and Mindanao in January.
Several adverse impacts of El Niño such as damage to crops compounded by severe pest infestations and low level dams, among others pushed the provincial government of North Cotabato and city government of Zamboanga City to declare state of calamity.
Warmer than average air temperatures were observed in most parts of the country.
The expected weather systems that will affect the country in February are the NE monsoon, Low Pressure Areas (LPA), tail end of cold front, ridge of high pressure areas, easterlies and zero (0) or one (1) tropical cyclone.
Below to way below normal rainfall conditions are likely in most parts of the country except in the provinces of La Union, Batanes, Aurora and Davao where near normal rainfall conditions are likely to be expected. Drought and dry spell outlook for the month of February showed that twenty six (26) provinces will likely experience drought while nine (9) provinces may experience dry spell. For a complete list of these provinces, please refer to Drought/Dry Spell Outlook map.
Slightly warmer than average air temperatures are expected in many parts of the country. The expected range of temperature in February will be 18°C-36.5°C over the lowlands of Luzon, and 9.5°C-27.5°C over the mountainous areas. For Visayas islands, the expected range of temperature will be 18.5°C-36.0°C. Mindanao, on the other hand, is expected to have a temperature range of 18°C-39.0°C over the lowlands and 13.5°C-34.5°C over the mountainous areas. Predicted temperature ranges in Metro Manila are 18.0°C to 36.0oC.
PAGASA will continue to closely monitor the on-going strong El Niño condition and updates shall be issued as appropriate. Meanwhile, concerned agencies are advised to take precautionary actions and intervention measures to mitigate adverse impacts of El Niño. For further information, please contact the Climatology and Agrometeorology Division (CAD) at telephone numbers 434- 0955 or 435- 1675.
VICENTE B. MALANO, Ph.D.