THE Negros Island Region (NIR) is among 14 regions in the country forecast to have below normal rainfall this April, according to the state weather bureau.
All regions nationwide except Cagayan Valley face up to a month of dry days each, with total rainfall at oe millimeter or less, said Analiza Solis, senior weather specialist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
“We must prepare for such simultaneous occurrence,” Solis said.
Other regions with below normal rainfall include the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao.
The weather bureau is reminding the public to exercise caution against extreme heat, expecting the Philippines to experience this April a twin onslaught of the dry season's peak and the brunt of the drought-driving El Niño phenomenon.
Solis also warned of higher temperatures and further rainfall shortage this month, noting that El Niño was exacerbating the hotter- and drier-than-usual weather conditions that generally prevail during the dry season's peak.
Around 38 percent of the country or about 30 provinces, mostly in Mindanao, would likely experience drought by April 2016’s end, according to Pagasa.
By the weather bureau’s definition, a drought occurs after three consecutive months of significantly below-average rainfall. Drought can also be declared after five consecutive months of slightly below-average rainfall, Pagasa added.
“El Niño is still prevailing even if this phenomenon is already heading towards its decaying stage,” said Anthony Lucero, acting head of of Pagasa’s Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section.
Lucero said Pagasa expected El Niño to gradually weaken through the March-April-May 2016 period, then transition to neutral through the May-June-July period.
In Negros Occidental, Isagani Republika of the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division said that slight rains were felt in some areas of Bacolod City and in some parts of Hinobaan on Tuesday.
Republika said these light rains called “trough” are brought in by some anomalies in the Pacific basin, but are not enough to bring full rains. (With reports from PNA)