Bicol provinces at risk for drought

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MANILA—State-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) gave warning that by the end of March 2016, several Bicol provinces are at risk for drought. These include Albay, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.

Also at risk are provinces in Central Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas, the weather bureau declared at this month's El Nino forum.

PAGASA's data showed the country can expect between 16 to 31 dry days during 2016's first quarter. Between 26 to 31 dry days are likely in March alone across 16 of 18 regions nationwide.

January to March is the northeast monsoon's peak period but tropical cyclone (TC) activity that can bring rain to the country is at its minimum then, noted PAGASA.

For such three-month period, PAGASA forecast one to two TCs in the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

According to PAGASA, strong El Nino continues prevailing as data showed sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) in the Pacific exceeding 1.5°C.

PAGASA Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section OIC Anthony Lucero earlier said the Philippines is already experiencing El Nino's effects.

"Drought, dry spell, delayed onset of last year's rainy season, lesser-than-average number of TCs and higher temperatures are El Nino manifestations in the country," he noted.

Citing latest available model outputs, he said El Nino may last until mid-2016.

He noted the models also indicate possible decreasing SSTA as 2016 progresses, however.

"We expect neutral conditions to return by July's end," he added, citing possible normalization of rainfall in the country by then. (With report from PNA)


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