Pagasa: Dry spell to affect Cebu this week

BAGUIO. In this file photo, a farmer harvest their crops as they brace for El Niño.
BAGUIO. In this file photo, a farmer harvest their crops as they brace for El Niño.Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes

A DRY spell will affect Cebu this week, a month after experiencing a dry condition last January, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Visayas.

Pagasa Visayas chief Alfredo “Al” Quiblat Jr. said Cebu has already experienced below-normal rainfall in the past few months, signaling an impending dry spell attributed to the El Niño phenomenon. This condition is expected to persist for some time.

In Negros Oriental, a province in Central Visayas, the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 has received reports of crop damages caused by El Niño.

Quiblat, in an interview, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, said El Niño will impact 14 provinces in Visayas, with three of them newly affected by the end of February. Visayas groups three regions: Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

Quiblat said the provinces of Bohol and Siquijor in Central Visayas, and Southern Leyte in Eastern Visayas are the newly identified provinces expected to experience the effects of El Niño under dry conditions.

The other provinces that will be placed under a dry spell are Antique, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo in Western Visayas; Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte and Samar in Eastern Visayas; and Negros Oriental in Central Visayas. The only province that will be experiencing drought is Negros Occidental.

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the warming of the Pacific Ocean, resulting in decreased precipitation or, in some cases, an absence of rainfall. This can have significant impacts on crop yields and presents various environmental and economic challenges.

Pagasa also warns that the phenomenon may persist until the end of May, affecting not only Cebu but also other parts of the country.

Categories

Quiblat said the categorized climatic periods are based on the recorded amount of rain they have recorded compared to normal rain waters recorded in these provinces.

He said dry conditions are defined as two consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, while a dry spell is characterized by three successive months of below-normal rainfall or two consecutive months of way below-normal.

Drought is designated as an extended dry condition marked by either five consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or three months of way below-normal rainfall.

Quiblat said below-normal rainfall means 20 to 60 percent less than a place’s normal rainfall, while a way-below-normal rainfall means more than 60 percent less than a place’s normal rainfall.

Farmlands in Central Visayas

SunStar Cebu has tried to ask DA 7 about how the El Niño phenomenon is affecting farms in Central Visayas, but they have not yet replied.

However, Leo Pelletero, project evaluation officer at the DA 7, said during the Philippine Information Agency forum last week that Bayawan City in Negros Oriental had already reported crop damage due to El Niño.

Pelletero said they have yet to determine the extent of crop damage in the area. He explained that they are currently reviewing and validating records from city to provincial level.

He encouraged local farmers to register with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. of the government so they can be covered with insurance protection in case they experience losses due to El Niño. / KJF

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