La Niña Warning
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has started warning the public of the possibility of a La Niña event occurring later this year after the El Niño ends.
La Niña is the opposite of El Niño and is characterized by above normal rainfall, strong monsoon activity, and the formation of more tropical cyclones. The PAGASA climate monitoring and prediction section says strong El Niños are usually followed by equally strong La Niñas. The national weather bureau expects the El Niño to terminate later this month or in March.
It was pointed out that the strong 1997-1998 El Niño was followed by a La Niña in 1999 when many parts of the country experienced intense rainfall and flooding. The most tragic effect of that La Niña was the landslide at the Cherry Hills subdivision in Antipolo City that took 58 lives.
The La Niña is not yet confirmed but it would be smart for local governments to take heed and prepare for the worst. Towns and cities that had enough foresight to take advantage of the extended dry season to undertake flood control projects will need to complete those projects before the wet season starts. The other communities that have done nothing in terms of infrastructure to prepare for an expected La Niña might want to check the status of their existing storm drain systems, open canals and esteros to see if their areas are ready for the above normal rainfall that the end of the El Niño could bring.
Are the towns and cities of Negros Island ready for the incoming wet season or have its leaders been too busy squabbling with political foes and with their early campaigning activities?
Only time will tell.*