PAGASA forecasts

Philippines’ warm and dry season starts at tail end of El Niño

Acor Arceo

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Philippines’ warm and dry season starts at tail end of El Niño


(2nd UPDATE) PAGASA announces the termination of the northeast monsoon on Friday, March 22, and the onset of what Filipinos often call ‘summer’

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ warm and dry season for 2024 is underway, with hotter days ahead alongside the continued effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced in a briefing on Friday, March 22, that the warm and dry season has begun.

Filipinos often call this season “summer,” but the country only has two major seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season is further divided into two: cool and warm.

The start of the warm and dry season means the cool and dry season, which is characterized by the northeast monsoon or amihan, has ended. The northeast monsoon affected parts of the country from October 2023 to March 2024.

“The retreat of the high pressure area over Siberia indicates an apparent weakening of amihan. Furthermore, the strengthening of the North Pacific High has led to a gradual shift in the wind pattern from northeasterly to easterly and an increase in the air temperature over most parts of the country. These signify the end of the northeast monsoon…and the beginning of the warm and dry season,” PAGASA explained in a statement on Friday.

The warm and dry season usually lasts until May. Temperatures are expected to rise during this period, with PAGASA issuing daily heat index figures.

“In the coming months, the number of dry and warm days across the country will continue to increase, although isolated thunderstorms are also likely to occur, usually in the afternoon or evening,” the weather bureau said.

PAGASA Administrator Nathaniel Servando advised people to take extra precautions to prevent illnesses such as heat stress and heat stroke.

“Sa mga susunod na mga araw ay tataas ang temperatura. Kung kasabay ang mataas na alinsangan o relative humidity, mataas ang heat index, at may kaakibat ito na hazard o panganib sa ating health. Maiiwasan lamang ito kung sundin natin ‘yung mga suggested interventions. Palaging mag-inom ng tubig, magdala ng payong, magsuot ng manipis na damit,” he said.

(In the coming days, temperatures will rise. Combined with high relative humidity, that will result in a high heat index, which comes with hazards to our health. We can avoid these hazards by practicing suggested interventions. Always drink water, bring an umbrella, wear thin clothing.)

Effects of El Niño

The onset of the warm and dry season comes as the Philippines still faces the impact of El Niño, which began in the tropical Pacific in June 2023 and gradually progressed from weak to strong.

PAGASA said on March 7 that El Niño has started to weaken and neutral conditions may return in April-May-June 2024. Although the phenomenon is weakening, the weather bureau expects its effects to linger until May.

In the Philippines, El Niño has triggered drought in at least 37 areas, a dry spell in 22 areas, and dry conditions in 12 areas as of Sunday, March 17.

Chart, Plot, Text
Screenshot from PAGASA presentation

“With the ongoing El Niño, significant reduction from the normal rainfall or drier-than-usual conditions will likely continue, which may bring negative impacts…in most areas of the country,” PAGASA said on Friday.

“The different climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, energy, health, public safety, and other key sectors in the country may continue to be adversely affected.”

The Department of Agriculture estimated that the cost of damage to agriculture in eight regions has reached P1.75 billion as of March 14

At least 29,437 farmers are affected by El Niño. 

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Acor Arceo

Acor Arceo is the head of copy and editorial standards at Rappler. Trained in both online and TV newsrooms, Acor ensures consistency in editorial standards across all sections and also supervises Rappler’s coverage of disasters.