Scorching heat likely in run-up to 2016 polls
By Catherine J. Teves


MANILA, Nov. 14 (PNA) -- Preparations for the May 2016 national and local polls are expected to continue intensifying and so is temperature amid the potentially record-strong El Nino phenomenon.

State weather and climate authority Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) predicted a maximum temperature nationwide to mostly exceed averages as the country heads towards next year's polls, elevating need for precautions against likely scorching heat.

"Slightly warmer than average temperature is expected," said PAGASA's Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section OIC Anthony Lucero, citing forecasts for November 2015 to mid-2016.

Above-normal air temperature is among El Nino's impacts on Philippine climate, noted PAGASA.

PAGASA said the strong El Nino at present can last until mid-2016 and further intensify to a record level.

Experts continue cautioning about exposure to high temperature, noting this can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

According to PAGASA, average readings of its weather stations nationwide - except the one in Baguio City - show the Philippines' mean annual temperature is 26.6°C.

Such temperature approximates the level at which people feel comfortable, PAGASA weather forecaster Gladys Escullar said earlier.

PAGASA also said the Philippines' warmest month is May when mean temperature is about 28.3°C.

Latest available PAGASA data show maximum temperature in the country until May 2016 can exceed such values, however.

The data show Mindanao's lowlands as likely experiencing the country's highest expected temperatures for November and December this year at 36.8°C and 38.1°C, respectively, and for January 2016 at 36.8°C.

PAGASA forecast maximum temperature to further rise afterwards, posing an additional challenge to the 2016 election campaign that's likely to encounter scorching heat then.

In its Resolution 9981 promulgated in August 2015, Commission on Elections (Comelec) set Feb. 9 to May 7 next year as campaign period for candidates seeking election as president, vice-president, senators and party list representatives.

Comelec also designated March 25 to May 7 next year as campaign period for candidates eyeing election to the House of Representatives as well as to regional, provincial, city and municipal posts.

For February 2016, PAGASA forecast generally above-mean maximum temperatures in Luzon's lowlands (37.5°C) and mountainous areas (27.0°C), the Visayas' lowlands (39.3°C), Mindanao's lowlands (37.2°C) and mountainous locations (35.4°C) as well as Metro Manila (35.2°C).

Maximum temperature there in March can reach 39.6°C, 30.3°C, 35.6°C, 39.6°C, 35.6°C and 37.0°C, respectively, noted PAGASA.

The areas' corresponding maximum temperatures in April can rise to 39.6°C, 28.8°C, 38.0°C, 38.8°C, 36.2°C and 38.0°C, PAGASA also said.

"In Luzon's lowlands, maximum temperature in May can range from 30.6°C to as high as 41.5°C," warned Lucero.

PAGASA forecast maximum temperature that month to reach 28.7°C in Luzon's mountainous areas, 38.3°C in the Visayan lowlands as well as 39.5°C and 36.0°C in lowlands and mountainous locations of Mindanao, respectively,

Metro Manila can experience in May maximum temperature of up to 38.6°C, PAGASA noted.

As a precaution against heat-related ailments, authorities continue urging people to stay indoors during hot days.

Taking baths frequently is also a way to cool off, they said.

They likewise recommend increasingly drinking water and conducting outdoor work or exercise in the morning when it's cooler.

Wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothes permits evaporation of perspiration, they added. (PNA)


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