LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) is bracing itself for a drought.

Danny Galaty, Pagasa meteorologist and weather forecaster, said there has been zero rainfall since November 2009, making the situation critical for next month.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Galaty said the El Niño phenomenon, which has hit the country, will greatly affect industries like fishing, agriculture and power generation.

He said the dry season makes the region prone to forest and building fires.

“Environmental pollution and health problems will also be present,” he said.

Pasgasa records show the longest El Niño to hit the country was in 1996 to 1997, extending to one and six years.

For the region, the minimum rainfall required is 32 milliliters.

“We have not had any rainfall for the past five months,” Galaty said, adding that the lack of rainfall is in stark contrast to its unprecedented 416 millimeters of rainfall in six hours on September 26, 2009 during the height of Typhoon Pepeng.

Galaty said cloud seeding operations in the past weeks have not helped the situation, much due to the immediate dispersal of clouds. The cloud pattern ideal for seeding has to be towering cumulus clouds.

“The clouds are only at mid level, that is why they disperse immediately,” he said.

The assessments of cloud seeding are usually made with the aid of Doppler radar and rain gauge observations, which the region does not have.

Galty is warning farmers who will be into their first cropping season soon to ready alternative sources of water to avoid spoilage of produce, anticipating a drier season next month.