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PAGASA to issue El Niño Alert in May

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Saturday said they would likely issue an El Niño Alert as the chances of  the weather phenomenon taking place had increased.

“We are expecting by next month, May, we will raise the El Niño ‘Watch’ status to ‘Alert’ status,” said PAGASA Climate Impact Assessment and Application Section Climatology and Agrometeorology Division chief Marcelino Villafuerte at a Quezon City news forum.

Villafuerte explained that an El Niño Alert status meant there was a 70% chance that the dry spell phenomenon would occur within the next two months.

“When it’s already the onset of El Niño we call it ‘Advisory,” he said.

The El Niño phenomenon was characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below normal rainfall.

The PAGASA official said that “by July, August, and September, there is an 80% chance that El Niño will happen.”

Villafuerte said that during these months the El Niño would develop, and the frequency of rains occurring would be “above normal” before the dry spell begins in October, November, December.

“Then by January, February, March, April, this is when we expect its full impact,” he said.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. had called for the creation of a team that would focus on mitigating the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Last month, PAGASA said the phenomenon was expected to start in June of this year. The weather bureau said the climate pattern in the country would remain neutral from March to June, but the El Niño would begin thereafter. — DVM, GMA Integrated News