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Bracing for La Niña

Manila Standard

While El Niño remains active and expected to persist until end of this month, climate models suggest a transition to neutral conditions in May-June with a likelihood – or 62 percent chance – between June-July-August 2024.

In which case, weather authorities advise the population to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and optimize the daily use of water for personal and domestic consumption, stay hydrated and conserve water during this period.

Authorities have advised El Niño has started to weaken and may return to ENSO-neutral conditions during the April-May-June 2024 season. But model forecasts suggest an increasing probability of La Niña to develop in the June-July-August 2024 season.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA has been continuously monitoring the El Niño Southern Oscillation in the tropical Pacific.

Model forecasts suggest an increasing probability of La Niña to develop in the June-July-August 2024 season. With this development, the PAGASA ENSO Alert and Warning System is now raised to La Niña Watch.

La Niña (cool phase of ENSO) is characterized by unusually cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

Officials have said when conditions are favorable for the development of La Niña within the next six months and the probability is 55 percent or more, a La Niña Watch is issued.

Pre-developing La Niña historically, is characterized by below-normal rainfall, therefore, the possibility of a slight delay on the onset of rainy season is likely with the combined effects of the ongoing El Niño.

PAGASA will continue to closely monitor the ongoing El Niño, its effect on the local climate, and the possibility of La Niña.

In the past two months, below normal rainfall occurred nationwide, except for Bulacan and Sarangani provinces while 23 provinces in Luzon, 14 in Visayas, and nine in Mindanao experienced meteorological drought, 19 provinces faced dry spells, while nine had dry conditions.

Warmer-than-average temperatures were observed across most of the country while several regions were declared under a state of calamity due to El Niño’s impacts.

Our attention is on PAGASA which is monitoring the weakening El Niño and potential La Niña development and encouraging government agencies and the public to take precautionary measures against these phenomena’s impacts.

During April 2024, below-average equatorial sea surface temperatures emerged in small regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

But above-average SSTs prevailed across the rest of the equatorial Pacific and the latest weekly Niño index values remained between +0.5°C and +0.8°C in all regions, except for Niño-3 which was +0.3°C.

Good thing water and power companies have started implementing their contingency plans to ensure water security in response to the water and power supply shortage due to El Niño while anticipating the next weather phenomenon.

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