Respite from water shortage, dryspell seen as end of El Niño nears
The occurrence of El Niño, which brings dry conditions to the Philippines, is expected to end within the next two months, promising relief to affected farmers and water consumers especially in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
In their latest monthly advisory on the phenomenon, the United States’ Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society said that while the El Niño continued to prevail last month, indicators of abnormal climate lessened.
“During June, El Niño was reflected in the continued presence of above average sea surface temperatures (SST) across the central equatorial Pacific Ocean,” the CPC said. “However, SST anomalies across most of the eastern Pacific decreased during the month.”
The American agency said the latest array of forecasts showed a “rapid transition” to a neutral status, referring to the absence of El Niño as well as the La Niña, which in the Philippines brings abnormally wet conditions.
“A transition from El Niño to [neutral] is expected in the next month or two, with [neutral] most likely to continue through Northern Hemisphere fall and winter,” the CPC said.
Last week, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) warned that while inflation has eased in June to its slowest pace in 22 months, there were still risks of rising prices of basic goods from weather-related shocks along with uncertainties in the global oil market.
“We should prepare for the possible onslaught of nine to 13 typhoons in the coming months, as well as the above-normal amount of rainfall brought by the southwest monsoon or habagat,” Neda said in a statement.
“On the other hand, the weak El Niño phenomenon has been forecast to persist until August 2019, with a chance to continue until the first quarter of 2020,” it added.
The agency reiterated its call to beef up production support and farm recovery programs in areas affected by El Niño.
In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, receding stock at the Angat Dam and La Mesa Dam has disrupted water services since March.
Daily water service interruptions are expected to continue until Angat Dam is replenished. Angat’s normal operating level is at least 180 meters above sea level (masl), but the level was pegged at 159.69 masl as of Friday morning.
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