NORTHEAST monsoon will continue to dump light to moderate rains in Eastern Visayas until late March this year, the state weather bureau said.

Mario Peñaranda, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)-Tacloban station, said that rainfall during the early part of the year were not really caused by low pressure areas, but by the northeast monsoon locally known as “amihan.”

“It is really the amihan that is currently affecting the region’s climate, bringing high chances of rain from day-to-day until late March,” he said.

Amihan is a cold and dry air mass gathering moisture as it travels across the Pacific Ocean reaching the eastern section of the Philippines. It is characterized by widespread cloudiness with rains and showers.

The region approached the year with above normal rainfall, which triggered flooding and landslides in different parts of Eastern Visayas, according to Peñaranda.

For January, Tacloban City alone had recorded 582.2 milliliters (mm) of rainfall, beyond the average of 323.9 mm recorded in the past 30 years for the month.

The official said the first quarter is generally a wet season in the region and it will be more dry in March due to transition to summer days. (PNA)