By Catherine J. Teves
MANILA, June 23 (PNA) — Government's weather agency has confirmed the country's 2015 rainy season already set in.
"Our criteria was satisfied this Sunday (June 21) so we're saying it's already onset of the rainy season," Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Acting Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano said Tuesday at a briefingin Metro Manila.
He said rainfall data from PAGASA stations for five consecutive days beginning June 17 confirmed such onset.
Intermittent to continuous rains and thunderstorms associated with southwest wind flow will affect Metro Manila and other areas in the country's western portion, PAGASA also noted in a statement released Tuesday.
"With the rainy season's onset, it's likely that areas affected by below-normal rainfall conditions will improve in the coming months, specially in northern Luzon," PAGASA also said.
PAGASA data indicate normal onset of the country's rainy season is between the second half of May to the first half of June.
"This year's onset was delayed due to El Nino phenomenon that's in progress, however," said Malano.
According to PAGASA weather expert Anthony Lucero, the country can expect between three to five tropical cyclones (TCs) this coming July.
"We also forecast two to four TCs for each of August andSeptember," he said at the briefing.
Malano noted the occurrence of El Nino doesn't reduce the number of TCs expected in the country.
El Nino affects TCs' intensity and direction, however, he clarified.
"We're not discounting the possibility of seeing very strong TCs towards 2015's end," he said.
He also said TCs during El Nino tend to recurve northwards instead of crossing the country.
PAGASA expects the rainy season to last until September this year, Malano added.
Near- to above-normal rainfall is likely in the next three months, he also said.
"Rainfall amount will be likely less starting September due to El Nino, however," he noted.
International data which Lucero presented during the briefing show El Nino will likely further intensify from being "moderate" to "strong" this year.
The data also indicate El Nino will likely persist until early 2016.
"We can experience El Nino's full impact towards this year's end — that means we must use water wisely," Lucero said.
He said dry conditions will likely prevail by then in most areas nationwide.
PAGASA data for May 2015 showed El Nino already fueled onslaught of the dry spell and drought in almost 60 percent of the country.
The agency's outlook for July 2015 indicate dry spell and drought will affect 48 provinces nationwide then. (PNA)