Cebu braces for ‘hottest’ month, heat index to become ‘dangerous’

Cebu brace for 'hottest' month, heat index to become 'dangerous'
Cebu brace for 'hottest' month, heat index to become 'dangerous'

AFTER enduring a record-breaking 40 degrees Celsius heat index for several days since Friday, April 26, 2024, the state weather bureau warns Cebuanos of a potential escalation into the “danger” category as May approaches.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Mactan station chief Alfredo Quiblat Jr., in an interview on Sunday, April 28, advised the public to continue observing safety and health preventive measures as the effects of the dry warm season and the El Niño phenomenon will worsen as Easterlies continue to prevail.

Easterlies are prevailing winds blowing from the east to the west, commonly found in tropical regions near the equator. They bring warm, moist air from the Pacific Ocean to areas like the Philippines.

Hottest month

Quiblat said their forecast heat index will range about 41 to 44 degrees Celsius in the first week of May.

He added that when the heat index reaches 42 degrees Celsius, it falls into the “Danger” category, indicating a high likelihood of heat cramps, exhaustion and stroke during prolonged outdoor activities.

The heat index measures how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual surface air temperature, which refers to the actual temperature of the air measured by a thermometer.

In a separate interview, weather specialist Jhomer Eclarino echoed that May is expected to be warmer and hotter, based on historical records.

He noted that last year, the highest heat index recorded in Cebu was 43 degrees Celsius on May 17, 2023.

“We just recently experienced 40 degrees Celsius this April, and May is considered the hottest month; it is expected that the heat index is increasing,” he said.

Eclarino added that on May 31, 2010, during the El Niño phenomenon, the province recorded its highest surface temperature at 37 degrees Celsius, with a heat index of 49 degrees Celsius.

Still a hot week

According to Quiblat, Cebu will experience a high-temperature range. The province’s surface air temperature on Sunday was expected to go as high as 33 degrees Celsius.

He added it may ease a bit at 32 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday, April 29 and April 30, but it will go up again on Wednesday, May 1, and onwards.

Quiblat urged the public to take heat index reports seriously as they remain in the extreme caution category.

The Pagasa Visayas chief said that based on their two-day heat index indicator, Cebu’s peak heat index for Sunday and Monday might reach the record high of 40 degrees Celsius

Safety measures

Eclarino advised the public to continue practicing health and safety precautions.

Earlier, Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, regional epidemiologist from the Department of Health Central Visayas, urged the public to avoid outdoor activities between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., particularly during peak hours when the heat index is highest.

She advised wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Recently, Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas Director Lilia Estillore urged employers to allow their workers to take heat breaks to cool down from the extreme heat, especially during peak hours.

She also encouraged them to implement flexible working arrangements for their workers when possible. / KJF


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