City assures help should El Niño hit

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Sunday, May 11, 2014


THE City Government of Davao is bracing for the possible adverse effect of the El Niño phenomenon, looking for financial resources to support the vulnerable sectors.

City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he will ensure that his constituents will have something to eat as El Niño develops this year.

“We have to do something about it. I will borrow money, ask assistance or what,” Duterte said Sunday.

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He said he plans to reactivate the Crisis Management Committee, which will be composed of City Hall department representatives and other agencies that will augment the local government to help address the weather phenomenon.

“Before the damage is done, there has to be some measures to lessen the impact or minimize the damage. It’s always money. Money, money, money,” he said.

Duterte also called on the attention of City Treasurer Rodrigo Riola to look for resources to sustain the needs of everybody.

The National Government, through Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr., advised local government units to brace for El Niño, reminding them to conserve water and energy.

Meanwhile, a report from the National Weather Service-Climate Prediction Center dated May 8 states that the chance of El Niño increases during the rest of 2014, exceeding 65 percent during summer.

The report is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions.

The information showed figures on atmospheric and oceanic conditions, indicating above-average sea surface temperatures and the weak low-level westerly wind anomalies observed over the far western Pacific and the upper-level easterly anomalies occurred over the Pacific.

These, according to the data, manifested “a continued evolution toward El Niño.”

“The downwelling phase of a strong oceanic Kelvin wave that began in January greatly increased the oceanic heat content during March and April and produced large positive subsurface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Pacific,” the report reads.

The Climate Prediction Center, however, could not tell as to exactly when the weather phenomenon will develop and how strong it may become.

“This uncertainty is related to the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring. While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chance of El Niño increases during the remainder of the year, exceeding 65 percent during the summer,” it said.

ENSO-neutral means no El Nino or La Nina.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), in a statement issued on May 1, said the country could still experience normal number of tropical cyclone this year.

“However, El Niño causes the behavior of tropical cyclones to become erratic, affecting its tracks and intensity. The tropical cyclone tracks are expected to shift northward and its intensity could become stronger,” it said.

Pagasa said the onset of El Niño might be in June which may peak during the last quarter of 2014 and may last up to the first quarter of 2015.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 12, 2014.

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