14 provinces still under dry spell – PAGASA

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said ySunday that 14 provinces are still under dry spell conditions based on rainfall observation conducted in January.

PAGASA, in its latest El Niño bulletin, said they are Benguet, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Batangas, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, and Capiz.

In its previous El Niño bulletin, there were 16 provinces hit by drought. They were Aurora, Quezon, Marinduque, Mindoro, Romblon, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Northern Samar, Aklan, Guimaras, Biliran, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat.

“Overall assessment of rainfall for the month of January was below to way below normal in most areas of Luzon and Region 6 (Western Visayas).

Near normal condition was observed in Regions 4-B (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan area), Bicol region, Central Visayas, Northern Samar, and Central Mindanao. The rest of Visayas and Mindanao have received above normal rainfall,” PAGASA said.

“Prevalence of the northeast monsoon affected the eastern portions of Visayas and Mindanao that brought rains for several days and eased down the dry spell conditions experienced over the affected areas during the month of December,” PAGASA said.

It will be recalled that in January, persistent occurrence of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in the southern portion of the country caused continuous heavy rains, affecting CARAGA region and triggering floods and landslides in Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Dinagat Island.

Heavy rains caused by the northeast monsoon or “hanging amihan” resulted into flashfloods in Oriental Mindoro last Jan. 17.

“El Niño,” Spanish word for “The Child,” is a weather phenomenon associated with the unusual warming in the Equatorial Pacific which usually brings below normal rainfall.

According to PAGASA, “the El Niño in the equatorial Pacific continues to sustain its moderate strength and is recently in its mature stage.”

“Gradual decrease in sea surface temperature is expected but still within the El Niño threshold and likely to last up to June 2010. Tempo

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