Strong typhoons in Bicol feared
By Celso Amo LEGAZPI CITY --- The Philippine Institute of Geo-physical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Masbate and Catanduanes to brace for low rainfall due to the southwest moonsoon and the additional risk of a brewing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean in the fourth quarter. The capital town of Virac in Catanduanes has declared a state of calamity on Monday due to low water supply from lack of rainfall. Jun Dalida, deputy administrator of PAGASA for operation and services, admitted below normal level of rainfall in Catanduanes from July to August this year. He said there was 42 mm average rainfall in July compared to the normal level of 2,461.6mm. In August it was also a meager 15.1 mm compared to the normal average rainfall of 102.5mm. “The local government of Virac can use its calamity fund to conduct cloud seeding,” said Dalida. He said PAGASA can coordinate with the Philippine Air Force to conduct cloud seeding. Dalida also said that the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Masbate have also low rainfall incidence except Sorsogon this month of August. He suggested that the local government units in these five provinces should start to make the necessary responses based on the severity of the situation to address the rainfall deficit such as cloud seeding. Other areas in the western part of the country had also experienced low rainfall incidence, he said. “Based on our study as well as climate forecast from other countries there’s 60 percent probability an El Niño is going to occur from October, November and December this year. Sign of El Niño which is an abnormal weather condition at the Pacific Ocean is low rainfall incidence. “Bicol’s weather pattern which expects more rains due to ‘amihan’ as well as the onset of typhoon months of October, November and December can be changed due to El Niño,” he said. El Niño which is also characterized by warming at the Pacific Ocean where typhoons originate and where rains occur, causes rainfall deficit in many areas in the country. “We are still at El Niño watch because not all the indicators are there,” said Dalida. “But with the probability of 60 percent we are already going there,” he added. With a full blown El Niño there is a smaller chance of typhoons to enter our area of responsibility but we can expect stronger typhoons when they enter PAR, said Dalida. “There’s less typhoon entering PAR because it is warmer in the Pacific Ocean,” said Dalida.