Heat index in Cebu may reach 51 °C

Heat index in Cebu may reach 51 °C

A STATE meteorologist is warning the public that the heat index in Cebu in the coming months may reach up to the “dangerous” 51 degrees Celcius.

Weather specialist Jhomer Eclarino of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Visayas, said that this is categorized as dangerous, with a heat index ranging from 42 to 51 degrees Celsius.

Earlier reports suggest that at this level, heat cramps and exhaustion are highly likely, and heat stroke becomes probable with continued activity outdoors.

The heat index or “feels-like” temperature combines air temperature and humidity to indicate how hot the weather would feel to the human body.

Eclarino said on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, that the rise in the heat index is attributed to the drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon as well as the ongoing dry hot summer.

"We declared officially the start of warm, dry season or what we call 'tag-init (summer) sa Pilipinas', at the same time we are also monitoring the ongoing El Niño phenomenon also, thus, we can feel more the intense heat," he said.

Pagasa declared the end of the northeast monsoon, also known as amihan, last March 22, signaling the beginning of the summer season in the Philippines.

The Philippines experiences only two seasons, which are the dry and wet. Despite the absence of a specific summer season, Filipinos commonly refer to the dry season as such.

He said that based on historical data, Cebu always experiences the highest temperatures in the month of May.

Eclarino said that on May 31, 2010, also during the El Niño phenomenon, the province recorded its highest temperature at 37 degrees Celsius surface temperature.

During at that time, it coincided with a heat index of 49 degrees Celsius.

Drought

Meanwhile, he said that Cebu and nine other provinces in Visayas are currently categorized as experiencing drought.

The other provinces include Antique, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, and Samar.

Additionally, El Niño has transitioned from a strong and mature state to a moderate one. Despite weakening, he added its effects will still be felt in the next two months.

He said drought is classified as an extended dry condition, either with five consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or three months of significantly below-normal rainfall.

Pagasa previously defined below-normal rainfall as 20 to 60 percent less than the usual amount, while way-below-normal rainfall indicates more than a 60 percent decrease from the norm.

Health concerns

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, regional epidemiologist of Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) advised the public to observe safety measures amid the intensive heat.

She urged the public to avoid outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially during the peak hours when the highest heat index is felt.

Cañal the wearing of sunscreen when going outside and always hydrate with water.

No typhoon

Eclarino forecasts calm weather for the Visayas region from the last week of March through the first week of April.

He said no expected typhoons or low-pressure areas entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility during this period.

"That is good news that we are typhoon-free or tropical cyclone free in the two weeks," he said. (KJF)

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