ICE pellets rained down on an upland village in Atok, Benguet on Saturday afternoon, despite the rest of the country broiling in the summer heat.
Ironically, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said Sunday people across the country were at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, as the heat index went over 41 degrees Celsius in at least 14 areas, rising as high as 47.7 degrees in Sangley Point, Cavite.
The hailstorm in Atok, which sports the highest point in the Philippine highway system at 7,400 feet above sea level, wrecked crops in some farms and left ice on roads in Sitio Sayangan, Barangay Paoay, locals said.
Edward Haights, a local tourism coordinator, said the hail storm lasted for almost an hour.
The fourth-class municipality at the heart of Benguet province has average record low temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius, but Pagasa said there have been previous instances of hailstorms in Baguio and Metro Manila during the summer.
Atok is about 48 kilometers north of Baguio City, the country’s summer capital.
Higher temperatures can cause water in the atmosphere to evaporate faster and form thunderstorms, the state weather bureau explained.
Pagasa meteorologist Arial Pojas told radio DZMM pellets of ice sometimes form inside thunderstorms and fall with rain showers.
Meanwhile, according to data released by Pagasa, the heat index is the measure of the temperature that a person feels, and is essentially the “apparent temperature” felt by the human body.
That is is computed by factoring in the humidity as well as the ambient dry bulb temperature, or what people usually think of as air temperature.
Pagasa’s scale classifies heat index temperatures from 41 to 54°C as dangerous, at which level it said “heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely” and that “heat stroke is probable with continued activity.”
Apart from Sangley Point, other areas in the bureau’s “Danger” classification are San Jose City, Occidental Mindoro (45.8 degrees); Surigao City, Surigao Del Norte (44.6 degrees); Dagupan City, Pangasinan (44.6 degrees); and Cuyo, Palawan (43.6 degrees).
Also in the same group are Casiguran, Aurora (43.4 degrees); Daet, Camarines Norte (42.7 degrees); Aparri, Cagayan (42.6 degrees); Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecjia (42.4 degrees); Laoag City, Ilocos Norte (42.2 degrees); Cotabato City, Maguindanao (41.8 degrees); Tuguegarao City, Cagayan (41.8 degrees); and Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur (41.4 degrees).
Most of the Philippines will be in the “Extreme Caution” classification until Friday, April 27, according to Pagasa’s five-day forecast.
A ridge of high pressure area will cause temperatures to rise this week, Pagasa weather forecaster Ariel Pojas told DZMM.
The weather system associated with humid and fair weather will start affecting Northern Luzon, particularly Tuguegarao and Cabanatuan cities, in “the next few days,” Pojas added.
Temperatures in the next days will range from 24 to 34 degrees Celsius in Metro Manila, 25 to 32 degrees Celsius in Cebu province, and 24 to 33 degrees Celsius in Davao region, he added.
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