The La Niña phenomenon is expected to end by February, a specialist with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Thursday.
However, the municipality of Basey in Samar was placed under a state of calamity on Thursday amid the massive flooding triggered by the heavy rains dumped by the low-pressure area (LPA) and the shear line.
A resolution for the declaration was passed by the Office of the Sangguniang Bayan following the recommendation of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council(MDRRMC) after an assessment of the “extent of damages caused by heavy rains that resulted in flooding in several barangays of the municipality.”
The La Niña phenomenon is characterized by unusually cool ocean surface temperatures in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific (CEEP), explained senior weather specialist Chris Perez at a televised public briefing
It increases the likelihood of having above-normal rainfall conditions that could lead to potential adverse impacts such as heavy rainfall, floods, flashfloods, and landslides over highly vulnerable areas, the PAGASA expert added.
Since January 2, the Office of Civil Defense said 10 people were reported dead while two were reported missing due to the inclement weather caused by the LPAs, shear line, and northeast monsoon.
A total of 438,622 people or 106,961 families have been affected by the inclement weather in different parts of the country since Jan. 2, the OCD said in a morning bulletin, with 8,153 individuals or 2,144 families displaced.
The recent weather effects have brought heavy rains to Cagayan, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga, Northern Mindanao, Davao, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
At least 492 houses were reported damaged so far, according to the OCD.
But Perez said that by February onwards, the country would experience normal weather conditions.
“Right now, La Niña is affecting the country’s weather condition, that is why some parts of the country are experiencing near to above normal rainfall during the previous and the current month,” he said.
“We expect that this La Niña will end by February, and onwards, we will experience a neutral or normal climate condition,” Perez added.
PAGASA has not seen signs of El Niño, but the agency will keep monitoring, he added.
This January, Perez said up to one cyclone is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
PAGASA is not ruling out the possibility of more low-pressure areas developing in the country this month, he added.
OCD Joint Information Center head Diego Agustin Mariano said damage to infrastructure worth P165,745,496 and P142,327,192 to agriculture were reported due to the impact of the bad weather.
At least 167 areas were still flooded, mostly in Eastern Visayas, Mariano said.
He said a state of calamity was declared in four areas: Tubod, Lanao del Norte; San Miguel, Leyte; Dolores, Eastern Samar; and Gandara, Samar. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Assistance worth P26,681,252 was provided to the victims, according to the OCD.
Due to the severe rains, massive flooding hit several parts of Mindanao.
In Zamboanga City, rescuers used rubber boats to evacuate residents from neck-deep flooding, even carrying out a baby in a basin, while the city hall was preemptively evacuated as the river overflowed.
Several areas in Misamis Occidental were also submerged in massive flooding
At least 12 barangays were also affected in Basilan while chest-deep waters flooded parts of Lamitan City.
In the Visayas, classes in all levels were suspended in storm-hit Eastern Samar and Bohol.
“It is hereby resolved, to approve a resolution declaring the municipality of Basey under the state of calamity due to the damages caused by heavy rains resulting in serious flooding caused by the shear line and the LPA affection Region 8,” Resolution No. 01 Series of 2023 read.
Basey is the second town in Samar to be placed under a state of calamity after the town of Gandara on Wednesday owing to the effects of the continuous heavy rains.
PAGASA said the LPA was located 355 kilometers east northeast of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, or 345 km east of Butuan City, Agusan del Norte as of 10 a.m.
It was forecast to bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Negros Occidental together with the shear line.