There are several signs that the current El Niño is now gradually losing its grip on the Earth’s weather patterns, Mar Josef Santos said, a weather observer at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA – Baguio). Even as the Philippines are still dealing with the effects of El Nino, PAGASA – Baguio explained that La Niña Watch was already issued since there is now a high chance of La Niña developing on later May. From their recent forecast, climate models predict that the ocean temperatures are going to cool, with a transition to neutral conditions in May-June and eventually turn into a La Niña.

El Niño, La Niña, and neutral represent the three phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a recurring
natural phenomenon defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as “fluctuating ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, accompanied by atmospheric changes.”Topping the list of 2023 with the highest heat index on August 14 was Casiguran, Aurora with 60 degrees Celsius, as per PAGASA. This exceptionally high heat index posed significant threats to public health, highlighting the severity of El Niño conditions prevailing in the area that time.

On the report of Baguio Public Information Office (PIO), the Baguio Water District (BWD) is persistently fast-tracking its water augmentation programs to ensure continuous water supply ahead of the impact of El Nino this year. Though El Nino does not project much threat to Baguio City, PAGASA-Baguio said that rains are stronger in higher elevations and mountainous areas such as this city. Santos mentioned that pre-developing La Niña occurence are associated with below-normal rainfall which is now being slightly felt in Baguio City. Baguio gets an annual precipitation load of about 4,000 mm, which is among the highest loads in the country, including Eastern Samar and Eastern Surigao. Santos advises the public and the local government units to be aware and be prepared to take necessary precautions of this weather transitions.

Phoebe Allec Perez / UB Intern

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