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PAGASA: Expect up to 13 cyclones until December but El Niño may persist ‘til 2020

MANILA --- State weather bureau PAGASA noted that more areas in the country may expect near normal rainfall in the coming months.

This, despite the persisting drought that affects 32 of the country’s major provinces particularly areas in MIMAROPA, Western Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Based on PAGASA’s forecast, about 9 to 13 tropical cyclones may enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) before the year ends and those which likely to make landfall are in the months of October, November and December.

The weather agency noted the importance of tropical cyclones because they are the sources of about 50% of water being utilized for domestic requirement especially in Metro Manila.

At present, water level in Angat Dam remains below critical.

It is where Metro Manila sources 96% of its water needs.

PAGASA Hydrologist Sonia Serrano noted that Angat’s current water level is near the lowest ever recorded in 2010.

It is now at 158.4 meters which is 0.8 meters higher than the recorded level of 157.56 meters in 2010. Serrano also mentioned another low in Angat Dam’s reserve record which was 162.74 meters in 2014. PAGASA said the effects of El Niño is expected to affect the country until August this year but the phenomenon itself is likely to persist until the first quarter of 2020.

Nevertheless, the weather agency is confident that Angat Dam’s operating level will improve in the coming months specifically in July and in August.

“Hindi natin siya nakikita na biglang tataas except kung mayroong bagyo na talagang tatama, dadaan at magbubuhos ng ulan doon mismo sa Angat dam, (We may not get the sudden rise in [water level] except when tropical cyclones make landfall and drop continuous heavy rainfall directly to Angat Dam),” explained PAGASA Weather Services Chief Esperanza Cayanan.

Serrano, meanwhile, explained that to normalize water level in Angat Dam, it will need more than 300mm of rainfall.

“Gusto nating ma-reach ang 180-meter level na normal operating level ng Angat dam. Ang kinakailangan po natin ay nasa 365mm of rainfall, (We want to reach 180 meters which is the normal operating level of Angat Dam. That will need about 365mm of rainfall),” she noted.

Meanwhile, water level at La Mesa Dam, which is also a source of Manila Water’s water requirement, is now about 70 meters.

PAGASA is concerned, however, that impurities may affect the quality of water to be released in Metro Manila because La Mesa Dam’s intake has not been used for a long time.

“Ang nagiging problema dito, dahil sa katagalan hindi nagamit ang (dam) intake na iyon (kaya) medyo maburak, (The problem is, the dam intake has not been used and the impounded water is already muddy),” explained PAGASA hydrologist Roy Badilla.

“Ang isyu ngayon (o) parang concern nila, oras na buksan nila iyon [dam intake], sasama ang buhangin pababa. Apektado ang quality ng tubig na isu-supply sa Metro Manila, (So the issue or the main concern is that, when they decide to open the dam intake, all sand and mud will flow with the water. It will affect the quality of water supply in Metro Manila),” he concluded. – with details from Rey Pelayo

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