TOWNS in northern Cebu are feeling the heat of El Niño. This was the assessment of the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 and weather bureau Pag-asa gave the Provincial Board (PB) yesterday.

Tomasita Cadungog, chief of the DA 7 operation division, said “moderately affected” by the El Niño or the abnormal warming of sea surface are the northern towns of Daanbantayan, Bantayan and Madridejos. Bantayan and Madridejos are two of three towns that comprise Bantayan Island.

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“The northern areas are the most affected in Cebu and corn production there, more so,” Cadungog told the PB.

PB Member Joven Mondigo Jr., who represents the fourth district, said production at his farm in Medellin fell by half because of the weather phenomenon.

“I will confer with other board members on the appropriate action we can take to help the aggravated towns,” he said.

DA 7 could not make a total assessment of El Niño’s effect on the corn industry, though.

Engr. Oscar Tabada, Pag-asa Visayas division chief, said the unusually warm activity being felt in the country will last until June.

Fisheries and agriculture are adversely affected, he said.

El Niño reached its peak last December. There will be a gradual decrease in the dry spell between April and June.

There was a huge drop in the amount of rainfall in the Province since the dry spell started at the end of last year.

From the normal 145.1 millimeters (mm) of rainfall during that period, only 63.8 mm of rain fell last December.

In January, there was 80.9 mm of rainfall compared to the regular 107.8 mm. In February, only 16 mm of rain fell, compared to the normal 72.8 mm.

Tabada said March is still immeasurable, which means that there has been less than a single millimeter of rainfall.

It rained only once this month, last March 1. Normally, every March, Cebu would have a total of 55.4 mm of rainfall.

As for the temperature, the past few months have been hotter.

Since December, temperature has averaged one degree Celsius higher than normal. This month, though, the difference has climbed to two degrees.

Tabada said the temperatures were taken at the Pag-asa station in Mactan. Temperatures in urban areas average three or four more degrees hotter than normal.

May is expected to be the hottest month this year. (JGA)