MANILA — State weather bureau PAGASA may issue an El Niño alert by next month, an official said on Saturday, as chances of the dry spell continue to increase.
Marcelino Villafuerte, head of PAGASA’s impact assessment in its climatology and agrometeorology division, said issuing the alert means there is a 70 percent that the phenomenon could happen in a few months.
At present, the Philippines is under “El Niño watch” status.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterized by below-normal rainfall that can lead to dry spells and drought.
“Possibly natin ito mataas to alert level by next month,” he said during a forum in Quezon City.
He added that by July, August, and September, the chances of developing El Niño may reach 80 percent. Citing historical data, the expert said rains could occur “above normal” during this period as this typically happens before the phenomenon.
“[In] October, November, December, doon na nagsisimula yung effect nito na nagkakaroon na ng kakulangan. Then… January, February, March, April, doon na natin ie-expect ang impact nito,” he added.
The El Niño alert may be issued soon so the public could have a 2-month lead time to prepare. PAGASA expects the onset of El Niño in August.
“Two months ang lead time for alert, kapag ine-expect natin masyadong mataas ang chance, doon siya mag-start mag-alert. By May, pwede na siyang i-raise,” he told ABS-CBN News in a chance interview.
“Parang take action na… sa alert ang may action, kung maaari mag-take into action na (sic) given na mayroong ganon,” he added.
Climate projections by PAGASA show that El Niño will begin by the third quarter of 2023 or between July and September, and will last until early next year.