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El Niño weakens; La Niña Watch issued

March 8 ------ The El Niño is showing signs of weakening and could return to a neutral condition between April and June, state weather bureau PAGASA said. Climate model forecasts also suggest an increased probability of La Niña that could develop between June and August, which prompted PAGASA to issue a La Niña Watch. 


La Niña is characterized by unusually cooler than average sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial pacific. On land, La Niña manifests with above-normal rainfall. The issuance of a La Niña Watch means conditions are favorable for the development of the climate phenomenon in the next six months and its probability of developing is 55 percent or more. But PAGASA clarified that the focus should remain on the current El Niño because the country would continue to experience significantly less rainfall. 


Climatology and Agro-meteorology Division officer-in-charge Ana Liza Solis said the most critical months are May and June because of the combined ongoing effects of El Niño and pre-developing La Niña, which would mean high probability of less rain and a slight delay on the onset of the rainy season. PAGASA released the El Niño watch in March 2023, but its effects only became evident in the first and second quarters of 2024. Solis said the same is true with La Niña as its effects would not be felt right away. 


For now, the public is encouraged to keep their eyes on the effects of El Niño and continue practicing water austerity measures and keep hydrated as temperatures stay high. 



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