Satelite image of tropical depression "Ester" Image courtesy of PAGASA
MANILA (3RD UPDATE) - State weather bureau PAGASA on Tuesday night lifted the public storm signal it raised over Batanes, as tropical depression "Ester" continues to move away from the country.
In its 10:30 p.m. tropical cyclone alert, PAGASA said Ester was last spotted 270 kilometers north northeast of Basco, Batanes.
It said Ester maintained its strength, packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center.
Ester is moving northeast at 22 kph. With this speed and direction, it is expected to be 700 km northeast of Basco, Batanes, or outside the Philippine area of responsibility Wednesday afternoon.
The tropical depression is still bringing an estimated rainfall amount of between 5–15 mm per hour within its 250 km diameter.
Ester continues to enhance the southwest monsoon (habagat), PAGASA said.
This will trigger moderate to heavy rains over Batanes group of Islands, Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
"Pero kahit po pag nasa labas na yan, meron pa rin po tayong inaasahang mga pag-ulan dahil po sa southwest monsoon... Tuluy-tuloy po yan. Halos buong linggo ay medyo mahangin at maulan po tayo," weather forecaster Alvin Pura told radio dzMM.
Wet season, El Niño
With the arrival of Ester and the southwest monsoon, PAGASA officially declared the start of the wet season in the country.
PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano said the onset of the wet season was declared after several criteria were achieved.
''The prevailing synoptic conditions over the country are now characterized by southwesterly wind flow, high humidity, and occurrence of daily rains and thunderstorms. This development signifies the onset of the rainy season over the western section of the country,'' Malano said.
At least five of the eight weather stations of PAGASA should accumulate 25-millimeter rainfall for three consecutive days to satisfy the requirement for the declaration of the onset of the wet season.
Malano said in July and August, ''near (81-120%) to above normal (120%) rainfall conditions are expected in most parts of the country. However, monsoon breaks are likely, which may last for several days."
He added that the unusual warming of the sea surface temperature over the tropical Pacific indicates the development of the El Niño phenomenon within the next three months (June to August).
Many parts of the country will likely experience below normal rainfall conditions (41-80%) starting September, Malano said.