By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Expect hotter days ahead as the state weather bureau officially declared on Friday the start of the dry season following the termination of the cold northeast monsoon.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the end of the northeast monsoon or “amihan” was indicated by the shift of the wind direction from northeasterly to easterly over most parts of the country due to the establishment of the High Pressure Area (HPA) over the Northwestern Pacific.
“With this development, the day-to-day weather across the country will gradually become warmer, though isolated thunderstorms are also likely to occur,” PAGASA explained.
The onset of the dry season came earlier than last year, as it was declared on April 10.
According to PAGASA, the ongoing weak El Niño affecting large areas of the country may also result in prolonged dry spell, which may persist until June, and hotter air temperatures in the coming months.
In a press conference on Friday, PAGASA Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section chief Analiza Solis said the number of provinces grappling with drought may further increase as the dry season begins.
As of March 19, PAGASA has recorded a total of 55 provinces (28 in Luzon, 12 in Visayas, 15 in Mindanao) which are experiencing dry spell, while 16 provinces (8 in Luzon, 1 in Visayas, 7 in Mindanao) were affected by drought.
By the end of April, Solis said 61 percent of the country will likely experience drought as drought-hit provinces is expected to swell to 51 (27 in Luzon, 13 in Visayas, 11 in Mindanao).
While 39 percent of the country or at least 32 provinces (12 in Luzon, 3 in Visayas, and 17 in Mindanao) will likely experience dry spell, also by the end of April.
In the dry spell and drought outlook of PAGASA, affected provinces is expected to decrease by the end of May and June.
Meanwhile, Solis also bared that the hottest temperature is expected to be felt across the country in the month of May.
During that month, Northern Luzon, particularly Tuguegarao, might experience a maximum projection temperature of 40.7 degrees Celsius, 40.4°C in lowlands Luzon, 38.5°C in mountainous Luzon, 38.2°C in Metro Manila, 38.3°C in lowlands Visayas, 38.8°C in lowlands Mindanao, and 35.9°C in mountainous Mindanao.