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Drought to hit 3 provinces by month's end

THE Luzon provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Oriental Mindoro will likely experience an El Niño-induced drought by the end of December, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Friday.

Pagasa Officer in Charge Nathaniel Servando said severe dry conditions will also affect Abra, Ilocos Norte, Bataan, Zambales, Occidental Mindoro and Metro Manila.

The government prepares for the possible impacts of El Niño in the country. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

Drought refers to five consecutive months of below-normal rainfall conditions or three consecutive months of way below-normal rainfall conditions (more than 60 percent reduction from average).

In the Visayas, the province of Antique could also experience drought conditions.

Servando also said the following Luzon provinces will experience a dry spell, which is three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, or a 21 to 60 percent drop in average rainfall: Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Nueva Ecija, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Aurora and Palawan.

A dry spell was also forecast for Misamis Oriental and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao.

A dry condition has two consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or a 21 to 60 percent reduction in average rainfall.

Most of Luzon will have generally below-normal rainfall in December. Visayas and Mindanao will likely have near-normal rainfall.

Pagasa said below-average to warmer surface air temperatures are expected throughout the country, and cold temperature surges may also be expected in Luzon in time with the northeast monsoon, or «amihan.» Servando said the strong El Niño prevailing in the tropical Pacific is showing signs of further intensifying in the coming months as sea surface temperatures reach more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could bring dry spells and droughts to some areas of the country until the first quarter of next year, he said.

«This may adversely affect the different climate-sensitive sectors, such as water resources, agriculture, energy, health, public safety, and