By Catherine J. Teves
MANILA, Feb. 15 (PNA) — Metro Manila and seven other regions face up to an entire month of dry days in March amidst continuing onslaught of the drought-driving strong El Nino phenomenon.
In its latest outlook, State weather agency Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said between 25 and 31 dry days are possible this March in each of Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as well as Regions I,II, III, IV-A and IV-B, all in Luzon.
PAGASA forecast the same number of dry days in SouthernPhilippines' Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
"Dry day is a day with 1.0 mm of rainfall or less," noted PAGASA.
For Luzon, PAGASA forecasts this March way below-normal rainfall with precipitation reaching only almost 19 percent of this area's normal level.
According to PAGASA, way below-normal rainfall is less than 40 percent of normal precipitation in an area.
Way below-normal rainfall is likely next month in Luzon's Metro Manila, CAR as well as Regions I, II, III, IV-A and IV-B.
PAGASA forecasts rainfall in such areas to be merely 8.6 percent, 25.2 percent, 24.7 percent, 19.3 percent, 12.6 percent, 22.8 percent and 11.7 percent of their respective normal levels, PAGASA said.
In ARMM, PAGASA said rainfall this March will likely be way below-normal as well with precipitation hitting only 27.5 percent of normal level there.
Weather systems that may affect the country this March are the northeast monsoon or 'amihan,' tail-end of a cold front, easterly wave, inter-tropical convergence zone, low-pressure areas, ridge of high-pressure area and tropical cyclones (TCs), PAGASA said further.
The northeast monsoon will possibly terminate during the late February to early March period, noted PAGASA.
Between zero to one TC is possible in the country this March, PAGASA also said.
PAGASA data show that during previous strong El Nino events, the country mainly had zero TC occurrence in the month of March except in the 2009-2010 period (one TC) and 1982-1983 period (two TCs).
Earlier this month, PAGASA said the prevailing strong El Nino might gradually weaken through March-April-May 2016.
The transition to neutral condition is possible during the May-June-July period this year, PAGASA added. (PNA)