Tropical cyclones' threat remains amid El Niño

MANILA, Oct. 24 (PNA) -- People nationwide must still prepare for possible tropical cyclones (TCs) during 2015's remaining months despite the continuing strong and potentially record drought-driving El Niño phenomenon.

State weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) emphasized such point as its forecasters haven't yet ruled out occurrence of TCs in such months.

"The threat of TCs still looms even if El Niño is already prevailing so people must prepare for these accordingly," said PAGASA's Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section OIC Anthony Lucero.

He noted last week's onslaught of Typhoon "Lando" (international name Koppu) in Luzon is proof TCs can still occur despite El Niño and the dry condition this phenomenon causes.

"We expect a very large part of the country to experience dry condition due to El Niño but TCs are still possible at this time of the year," he said.

Latest available official National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) data show Lando affected almost 360,000 families or nearly 1.7 million people in regions I, II, III and IV-A as well as CAR and NCR.

The data also show a total 46 deaths and 82 injuries from Lando in the six regions.

PAGASA reported Lando rains helped increase reserve in Luzon's dams, however.

Such facilities include Angat Dam where Metro Manila sources some 97 percent of its water, PAGASA noted.

For 2015's remaining months, PAGASA forecast one to two TCs in each of October and November as well as zero to one TC this December.

Such TCs can strike either Luzon, the Visayas or Mindanao, noted PAGASA.

"People must still prepare for extreme events like Lando that devastated Luzon," Lucero warned.

PAGASA's monitoring showed Lando and storm Kabayan as TCs in the country this October so far.

NDRRMC monitored Lando-induced flooding in Northern Luzon's Cagayan, Benguet, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya provinces as well as Central Luzon's Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales provinces.

The agency also reported monitoring four landslides in Region I and CAR.

Lucero clarified Lando isn't an unusual occurrence, however.

"We had TCs in previous El Niño years," he said.

The track of Lando is even similar to some of such TCs, he continued.

PAGASA said the Philippines averages around 19 TCs to 20 TCs annually.

Lando is the 12th TC in the country this year, PAGASA said.

"That's less than the normal count, however," noted PAGASA weather forecaster Rene Paciente.

He said the country normally has between 15 TCs to 16 TCs from January to October.

Lesser number of TCs as well as weak monsoon activity, early termination of the rainy season and extension of the dry period are some of El Niño's impacts on Philippine climate, PAGASA said.

TCs are among weather systems that can affect the country from October 2015 to March 2016, PAGASA continued.

PAGASA added other weather systems that can also affect the country during the period are the northeast monsoon, tail-end of a cold front, intertropical convergence zone, low-pressure area, easterly wave and ridge of a high-pressure area. (PNA)

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