Expected near-normal to above-normal rainfall in the next two months could trigger new landslides and flash floods in the eastern areas of Visayas and Mindanao, which are already reeling from weather-borne disasters this month, state weather bureau Pagasa said Saturday.
Rains in February and March can cause rough sailing and more landslides and floods in Eastern Visayas and the Caraga region in northeastern Mindanao “despite waning prospects for the rain-driven La Niña phenomenon’s full-blown development,” Pagasa said.
“Those areas can experience La Niña-like conditions, so communities concerned must prepare for such possibility,” said weather specialist Rusy Abastillas.
Pasagas said most of the country’s eastern seaboard has Type II climate that has no dry season but is marked by a “very pronounced” maximum rain period from December to February.
“Very wet weather is normal in the eastern seaboard during this time of the year,” Abastillas said.
Even if La Niña isn’t full-blown, she said rain over the country’s eastern provinces in the next two months “can be more intense than normal.”
The La Niña and El Niño phenomena are the cold and warm phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle, respectively, Pagasa said.
ENSO is characterized by temperature fluctuations between the ocean and atmosphere in east-central Equatorial Pacific.
Several days’ downpour helped trigger the large-scale February 2006 landslide in Guinsaugon village in Eastern Visayas’ Southern Leyte province that caused about 1,221 fatalities.
The bureau declared a weak La Niña that year, Abastillas recalled.
“People must be aware of La Niña’s possible impacts,” she said.
Earlier, Pagasa said oceanic and atmospheric indicators reached “weak or borderline La Niña levels” in October 2016.
Prospects for La Niña’s full development remain dim, the bureau said. Among the latest international forecasts is La Niña’s transition to ENSO-neutral condition around next month, it added.
Even if such a transition occurs, Pagasa said La Niña’s impacts “can still linger for some time.”
The northeast monsoon or “amihan” thunderstorms, low-pressure areas, the tailend of a cold front. and tropical cyclones are rain-driving weather systems that can affect the country from February to July this year, Pagasa added.