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Almost entire PH experiencing way below normal rainfall in April — PAGASA

Weather service PAGASA said nearly all areas across the Philippines have been experiencing way below normal rainfall this April, a report on Balitanghali said Thursday.

Based on PAGASA data from April 1 to 16, the report said, almost the entire country including Metro Manila was suffering from the climate condition, characterized by 40% or less of the normal rainfall for the period.

To illustrate the extent of the situation, Balitanghali presented a map showing nearly all provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as red — its color marker to indicate areas that were assessed as having way below normal rainfall.

Over the recent days, only localized thunderstorms have brought sparse rains to the country.

The possibility of rain dwindled further due to the ridge of a high-pressure area (HPA) extending over the eastern sections of Northern and Central Luzon.

PAGASA had reported Wednesday that this would continue to bring hot and humid weather over the country.

"Kapag ridge ng HPA ang nakakaapekto sa isang specific na lugar, asahan natin ang mas mababang cloud development, mas mababang rainfall, resulting to higher temperatures sa areas na 'yan," PAGASA weather specialist Veronica Torres earlier said.

(If the ridge of an HPA is affecting a specific area, we can expect lower cloud development, low rainfall, resulting to higher temperatures in these areas.)

Extreme heat has been bearing down on the Philippines even before PAGASA declared the start of the warm and dry season on March 22, forcing adjustments in class and work schedules.

The ongoing El Niño phenomenon has caused droughts and dry spells over large swaths of farmlands, with agricultural losses reaching more than P1.2 billion, according to a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) this month.

Temperatures in various areas across the Philippines have already surpassed government projections for the month of April, but PAGASA has warned that the hottest days have yet to come in May.

Dangerous heat index

The heat index is expected to hit dangerous levels in 18 areas on Thursday, with one forecast to experience 45°C.

In its bulletin, PAGASA said the following areas are expected to experience heat indexes ranging from 42°C to 45°C on April 18, 2024:

  • Aborlan, Palawan (45°C)
  • Dagupan City, Pangasinan (44°C)
  • Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (44°C)
  • Catarman, Northern Samar (44°C)
  • Tuguegarao City, Cagayan (43°C)
  • ISU Echague, Isabela (43°C)
  • Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas (43°C)
  • San Jose, Occidental Mindoro (43°C)
  • Iloilo City, Iloilo (43°C)
  • Dumangas, Iloilo (43°C)
  • Guiuan, Eastern Samar (43°C)
  • MMSU, Batac, Ilocos Norte (42°C)
  • Bacnotan, La Union (42°C)
  • Aparri, Cagayan (42°C)
  • Sangley Point, Cavite (42°C)
  • Coron, Palawan (42°C)
  • Virac (Synop), Catanduanes (42°C)
  • Roxas City, Capiz (42°C)

PAGASA said the heat index levels at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City and Science Garden in Quezon City are expected to reach 39°C to 40°C, respectively, on Thursday.

Heat index is the measure of the temperature that a person feels, which is different from the actual air temperature, according to PAGASA. It is computed by factoring in the humidity as well as air temperature.

Dangerous level heat index is from 42°C to 51°C, where heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely. Heat stroke is also possible with continued exposure. — VDV, GMA Integrated News