Drier days ahead for Mindanao

Dodamin Bojis, owner of a fishpond in Barangay Linangkob, Kidapawan City, shows the effect of El Niño. The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is recommending to the Sangguniang Panlungsod the declaration of a state of calamity. Initial damage to crops is reported at 53 million pesos. MindaNews photo by GEONARRI O. SOLMERANO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 March) – At least 17 provinces in Mindanao will experience dry spell while 11 provinces will be hit by drought by end of April 2019, according to a report of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

In a March 22 report released on Monday, the dry spell will hit Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Sarangani, Agusan Del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Basilan and Lanao del Sur.

A drought will occur in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Mindanao provinces will experience normal rainfall condition next month. Except for Misamis Occidental and Dinagat Island provinces, the island’s regions will receive near normal rainfall by May.

In Luzon, dry spell will hit Ifugao, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Aurora, Batangas and Rizal; drought in Abra, Benguet, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain province, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

In Visayas, dry spell will be experienced in Bohol, Cebu and Southern Leyte and drought in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar and Samar (Western Samar).

A woman farmer shows the black bugs that have infested her drought-stricken rice farm in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. March 12, 2019. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

According to PAGASA weather specialist Bema Tajones, dry spell means three consecutive months of below normal rainfall and 21% to 60% reduction from the average or two consecutive months of way below normal rainfall with more than 60% average reduction from the average rainfall.

She said drought happens when an area experiences three consecutive months of way below normal rainfall with greater than 60% reduction from the average rainfall or five consecutive months of below normal rainfall with 21% to 60% reduction from the average rainfall.

By end of May, PAGASA said only the provinces of Misamis Occidental and Dinagat Islands in Mindanao will experience drought.

Conditions in all provinces of Mindanao are expected to normalize beginning end of June although other provinces in the island will continue to experience drought during that month, as the “weak or even moderate strength” El Niño is forecast to continue until October before it will weaken in the last quarter of this year, according to PAGASA. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)