Brace for more rains and possible flooding in the coming months until the first quarter of 2021 due to La Niña, which is now present in the tropical Pacific, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced on Friday, Oct. 2.
PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano said recent oceanic and atmospheric indicators signify the onset of a weak to moderate La Niña, which has a 75 percent chance of becoming a “full-blown” one later this month or early November.
“Since June 2020, the sea surface temperature in the central and equatorial Pacific [has] started to cool, and [was] further strengthened in September 2020 reaching La Niña threshold,” Malano said during a virtual briefing on Friday.
La Niña is a weather pattern usually associated with above-normal rainfall conditions and increased tropical cyclone activity that could bring possible flash floods or rain-induced landslides.
Based on PAGASA’s forecast, Malano said most parts of the country, particularly the eastern section, will likely receive near- to above-normal rainfall conditions, with at least five to eight tropical cyclones expected to develop in the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) from October 2020 to March 2021.
“For October, near-normal rainfall conditions will be likely over Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Region, and most parts of Visayas and Mindanao, while above-normal rainfall conditions are expected in major portions of Central and Southern Luzon, Bicol Region, including Metro Manila,” PAGASA stated in its first La Niña advisory issued on Friday.
Impacts of La Niña
The state weather bureau has advised local government units (LGUs) to prepare for the possible impacts of La Niña as all sectors will be affected by this phenomenon.
Ana Liza Solis, chief of PAGASA’s climate monitoring and prediction section, said La Niña could negatively impact the agricultural sector and “extensively damage” growing crops due to flooding, especially in low-lying agricultural lands.
Overflowing of rivers and dam spillage are also expected during La Niña, as well as landslides and coastal erosion caused by strong waves or seaside flooding, Solis added.
For human health, Solis said La Niña could also lead to prevalence of water-borne diseases in flooded areas or even fatalities due to flash floods.
Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum III, however, assured the public that these impacts could be minimized.
“Mapapansin natin na ang panahon ng La Niña ay kasagutan sa pagkawala ng tubig sa mga dam na importante sa araw-araw nating buhay, ngunti ito ay mapanalanta kung hindi mapaghahandaan ng mabuti,” Solidum explained.
(La Niña season can help refill dwindling water levels in dams, necessary in our day-to-day lives, but it can also be destructive if we are not well prepared.)
“We can minimize the impacts if we are informed [about] what is happening, what the impacts are and, more importantly, what we need to do,” he added.
The state weather bureau assured that it will continue to closely monitor the ongoing La Niña and will issue regular updates and advisories regarding the phenomenon.
Concerned government agencies as well as the public, meanwhile, were advised to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impacts of La Niña.