NINE Mindanao provinces would be hit by drought in the first quarter of the year, the state weather bureau said in its Climate Outlook for January-June 2019.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the drought would affect Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Sulu, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.
The forecast is based on Pagasa’s Dec. 17, 2018 rainfall assessment and forecast for January-March 2019.
The extreme weather phenomenon would also affect 38 other provinces in the Visayas and Luzon.
In the North, the drought would hit Northern Luzon, Metro Manila, Mimaropa region and parts of Bicol region.
Davao Occidental, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces were included in the list of areas that would be hit by drought based on the rainfall assessment and forecast for January-February 2019. But they were listed as “not affected” based on the rainfall assessment and forecast for January – March 2019.
Camiguin, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte and eight provinces in the Visayas would experience dry spell, it said.
A dry condition would affect Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands along with Batanes, Camarines Norte, Laguna, Masbate, Quezon, Rizal and Romblon in Luzon, and Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran in the Visayas.
Pagasa defined drought as three consecutive months of way below normal rainfall (60 percent reduction from average) or five consecutive months of below normal rainfall condition (21 percent to 60 percent reduction from average).
Dry spell means three consecutive months of below normal rainfall (21 percent to 60 percent reduction from average) or two months of consecutive way below normal rainfall (more than 60 percent reduction from average).
Dry condition is defined as having two consecutive months of below normal rainfall (21-60 percent drop in average rainfall).
Pagasa said that while sea surface temperature (SST) has now reached El Niño levels, atmospheric indicators did not show consistent El Niño signal. But it warned that it has a 70-percent to 80-percent chance of occurring.
Switzerland’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also said that as of November 27, 2018, “the lack of a coupled atmosphere and ocean pattern means El Niño has not become established.”
“The chance of a full-fledged El Niño to be established during December 2018-February 2019 is estimated to be about 75 – 80%,” WMO added.
On Dec. 13, 2018, the International Research Institute of the US said on Dec. 13, 2018 that “El Niño is expected to form and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19 (~90% chance) and through spring (~60% chance).”
“The El Niño– Southern Oscillation (Enso) remains neutral, despite ocean temperatures being at El Niño levels,” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said on Dec. 18, 2018. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / Mindanews)