CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Central Luzon farmers and the millions of Metro Manila residents that depend on Angat Dam for irrigation and domestic consumption can heave a sigh of relief as water in the reservoir may likely to survive the El Niño phenomenon.
The state-run Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Angat Dam said that water level would be reduced further but would likely remain above critical levels until the estimated end of the drought by June or July.
Angat's reserves had an elevation of 204.41 meters as of 6 a.m. as of March 10.
Pagasa said that the elevation of Angat's reserve will even be lower at 201.70 meters, 196.68 meters, 190.9 meters and 184.70 meters by the end of March, April, May and June, respectively, just enough to make it through the rainy season.
The strong El Niño weather condition will be weakening in the coming months, but there will be long months ahead yet of hot and very dry weather.
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (Enso) Diagnostic Discussion issued by the Climate Prediction Center of the US, the National Weather Service and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society forecast the strong El Nino to start to weaken between March 20-June 19, or what is called Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
"The El Nino expected to will remain strong until February with the probability of below normal rainfall expected from January to April, leading to drought in 68 provinces by the end of April. Slightly warmer than average temperature is expected during the period," said Anthony Lucero, head of Pagasa's Climate Information Monitoring and Prediction Section.
Most prediction models show that the El Nino will weaken and transition to Enso-neutral or normal weather during the late spring or early summer of the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is from June 1 to August 31, 2016.
The greatest impact of the El Nino will be felt by March when harvest season for rice comes.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 16, 2016.
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