MANILA -- There will likely be no delay in the onset of the country's 2017 rainy season despite international forecasts indicating the possible recurrence of the drought-driving El NiAo phenomenon this year, a weather expert has said.
The rainy season will likely commence between late May and early June, said Analiza Solis, officer in charge of the climate monitoring and prediction section of the state weather bureau, PAGASA.
"We expect the normal onset of the rainy season in areas with Type I climate," she said, explaining that Type I climate has two pronounced seasons -- dry from November to April, and wet during the rest of the year, with maximum rain period from June to September.
Type I climate prevails in the western sections of Luzon and the west-lying areas of the Visayas' Panay Island.
"The southwest monsoon or 'habagat' affects those areas first," PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said, explaining why the agency uses meteorological conditions there as basis for determining the onset of the country's rainy season.
"Widespread" rainfall and a shift in wind direction from easterly to southwesterly can indicate the rainy season's imminent onset, noted PAGASA.
"Thunderstorm activities or a tropical cyclone (TC) can trigger the onset of the rainy season," Solis said.
Citing PAGASA's latest outlook, she said May and June could have one or two TCs each, while July could have two to three TCs and August, two to four TCs.
"Communities must prepare accordingly," she said, warning of possible flash floods and landslides during the period.
PAGASA forecast generally near-normal rainfall in the country this March and April.
Near-normal rainfall is possible this May in Northern Luzon and Mindanao while above-normal rainfall is likely in the rest of Luzon and the entire Visayas, PAGASA continued.
For June, Solis said near-normal rainfall is still possible in the country with some patches of above-normal rainfall in the Bicol region.
Western Luzon can expect above-normal rainfall this July while Soccsksargen and Caraga regions may experience below-normal rainfall in the same month, although near-normal rainfall is possible in the rest of the country, said PAGASA's outlook.
The outlook also shows more regions nationwide may experience below-normal rainfall this August.
"That may be a possible impact of developments leading to El NiAo," said Solis.
She said several international dynamical models indicate El NiAo's possible recurrence later this year.
PAGASA will continue monitoring meteorological conditions in the Pacific and update the public on developments there that can affect the country, she further said.
According to experts, the El NiAo and La NiAa phenomena are the warm and cool phases of the El NiAo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.
They said ENSO is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the climate system resulting from ocean-atmosphere interaction in central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
Solis said the 2016-2017 La NiAa episode is over.
"ENSO-neutral conditions are present in tropical Pacific and are favored to continue through at least the March-April-May 2017 season," she added.
With the transition to ENSO-neutral conditions, PAGASA announced the termination of its La NiAa watch.
PAGASA's ENSO Alert System has already shifted to 'inactive' status. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency