Pagasa Visayas to LGUs: Prepare for La Niña, excessive rainfall, storms

Pagasa Visayas to LGUs: Prepare  
for La Niña, excessive rainfall, storms
File photo

THE weather bureau’s regional office has urged local government units (LGUs) in Cebu and the rest of Visayas to prepare for the La Niña phenomenon, which is expected to bring excessive rainfall starting in the middle of the year.

This climate pattern, which increases rainfall, higher risk of floods, landslides, and more active typhoon season, is expected to peak by the last quarter of the year, or in October, November, and December, according to Alfredo Quiblat Jr., chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Visayas chief.

Quiblat said in a news forum in Cebu City on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, that there is a 60 percent chance of the La Niña phenomenon developing in the months of June, July, and August.

For its part, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) said it has already started its desilting efforts on its water-impounding facilities in preparation for the rainy season.

Cebu and the rest of the country are reeling from the effects of extreme heat brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

Tropical storms

Thus, Quiblat urged LGUs’ local disaster risk reduction and management offices (LDRRMOs) to prepare for excessive rainfall and tropical storms.

The weather phenomenon may also increase the frequency of tropical storms entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility during the La Niña season, Quiblat said.

The Pagasa Visayas chief further said that the chances of a devastating tropical storm directly hitting Central Visayas are highest around November and December; however, the peak period for tropical storms entering the country is July, August, and September. Parts of Central Visayas, including Cebu, were devastated by super Typhoon Odette (Rai) on Dec. 16, 2021.

According to Pagasa, seven to 13 tropical storms will enter the country for the rest of the year.

Wet season

The Pagasa said the onset of the wet season will occur by the third to last week of June, instead of the usual last week of May to the first week of June.

“The El Niño in the Central and Eastern Pacific continues to weaken. However, this does not mean we are safe from the heat, as the hotter and drier season will persist across the country until the last week or before the end of May. It may even extend to the first week of June,” Quiblat said in Cebuano.

Quiblat said LGUs must clear the obstructions from their waterways, rivers, and drainage system to accommodate a higher volume of water due to excessive rainfall.

Doing this, he said, will reduce the risk of water overflow that could damage establishments and houses, and disrupt economic activities.

As for the agriculture sector, Quiblat urged LGUs to prepare their farmers for the threat of excessive rains that may disrupt crop production. This includes securing insurance for farmers.

Desilting

Meanwhile, the desilting efforts of MCWD have started at its two facilities in Barangay Jaclupan, Talisay City, and Barangay Lusaran, Cebu City, said Edgar Donoso, the water distributor’s general manager.

“In Jaclupan, the desilting is ongoing. We are pleased that employees from the management and [members of] the board volunteered at the Jaclupan facility. This coming Saturday, another round of volunteers, from the board down to the employees, will clean other facilities,” Donoso said in Cebu during a press conference on Tuesday.

He added that desilting of the Buhisan Dam in Barangay Tisa cannot be done during the dry season. It can only be done during the rainy season, as the weather phenomena will help in desilting and washing out the accumulated silt in the dam.

“We will use the waste pipe,” Donoso added.

On the other hand, the Cebu Provincial Government is considering desilting measures for the 15-kilometer Mananga River in Talisay City and the 6.5-kilometer Lusaran River. This will improve the flow of water by removing the silt and boulders accumulated in the riverbed, it said. / EHP

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