Early El Niño onset feared
El Niño is a weather pattern associated with reduced rainfall, dry spells, and droughts. These phenomena have been observed in several provinces in Luzon and Mindanao from September last year to mid-January 2019. The weather bureau defines dry spell as three consecutive months of 21 to 60 percent rainfall reduction, while drought is either a dry spell that extends to five months―or at least a 60-percent rainfall reduction for three consecutive months. Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, Basilan, Maguindanao, and Sulu are experiencing a dry spell, while Ilocos Norte, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur are coping with drought, climate monitoring chief Analiza Solis told DZMM. By the end of March, Abra, Bataan, Palawan, Ilocos Sur, and Zambales may also experience drought, she said.