and Climate in Philippines
Altitude varies from sea level to 2,815m
(9,606ft) at Mt. Pulong on Luzon and 2,954m (9,692ft) at the highest point,
Mt Apo on Mindanao. At higher altitude it is always cooler. As further
north from the equator a place is located, as cooler it is in the months
of November to February. However, in April and May, northern portions
of The Country often experience higher temperatures than southern parts.
It is often a little cooler
outside the big cities as Manila or Cebu because concrete, asphalt and
the lack of trees combine to soak up, retain and reflect the heat.
Four types of tropical and maritime climates
are found: a dry and a rainy season; no dry season; not very pronounced
seasons; annd an even distribution of rain throughout the year.
Generally, along the east of the archipelago
and to the east of mountain ranges, there is more rain than on west sides.
The southern Visayas and Mindanao are a little more equatorial and rains
may, but don't have to, occur year round. Anywhere in The Country , rain
is more probable in the afternoons than in the mornings.
The primary winds are the monsoons which
blow from the southeast May through October and from the northwest from
November to April, and the trade winds which blow from the northwest.
Neither the northwest monsoon nor the trade winds carry much rain to the
western parts of the northern islands.
The Filipinos especially in the northwest
part of The Country including Manila divide their year into three seasons:
winter from December through February with dry, cool weather, summer from
March through May with dry, hot weather, and the rainy season from June
through November with thunderstorms and typhoons.
However, sometimes there are anomalies
in the weather pattern. For example, in 1985, June had almost continuous
rainfall in most of Luzon, and after that, no more; in 1986 there was
a typhoon as late as the end of December; and in 1987, November and December
had more rain than the supposed rainy season in the months before.
Barometric pressure in central Luzon including
Manila is usually between 1000 to 1005mb (29.53 to 29.68in) November through
May and 995 to 1000mb (29.38 to 29.53in) June through October. The rate
at which the barometric pressure rises or falls is a better forecaster
of short term weather than the media. A rapidly falling reading indicates
a coming storm or typhoon while a rapidly rising one shows the storm has
passed or fair weather is in store. It does not forecast brief showers.
During the rainy season, it is advisable to carry an umbrella at least
in late afternoons.
The minimum annual rainfall varies throughout
The Country from 965mm (38in) to 4,064mm (1,600in). The monsoon rains
are pulled in by hurricanes or, as they are called in the Pacific, Typhoons.
Typhoons (the native term is bagyo) are
common from June to October and they generally affect a wide area, sometimes
half of the archipelago. They all come from the Pacific ocean in the east
and contain winds of 120km/hr (74mi/hr) or more moving in a circle and
an almost windless "eye of the typhoon" moving to the west or
northwest with 17 to 25km/hr (10 to 15mi/hr).
Typhoons are given feminine names. They
follow the the Filipino alphabet of 19 letters which is about the average
number of cyclones entering the Philippine area of responsibility, i.e.
the area near The Country for which the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical,
and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is responsible for tracking
and reporting. It doesn't mean that PAGASA is responsible for the typhoon.
If a particular typhoon causes destruction of one billion pesos or the
death of 300 or more people then that name is removed from the list of
names that PAGASA uses, otherwise the same name may occur in subsequent
years. Some storms whose names have been removed in the past 10 years
are Aring (1980); Nitang and Undang (1984); Herming and Sisang (1987);
and Unsang and Yoning (1988).
There are several intensities of typhoons,
which are usually announced in advance in the newspapers, on radio and
TV. Signal 1 is the weakest. When signal 2 has been announced, elementary
and high schools and some offices and shops are closed, still depending
on the flood conditions. During a signal 3, all schools, government offices
and most private offices are closed.
But even with signal 1, things start going
haywire. There are traffic jams because of the floods, and employees in
many businesses come late.
The actual typhoon generally takes only
1 day. But often the day before and the day after also are rainy and windy.
It is easy to determine whether the eye of a typhoon is passing because
there is neither rain nor wind but is sunny and calm.
Some areas of Metro Manila become almost
inaccessible after several hours of heavy rain. This is negligible in
Ermita, Malate and Makati, but Tondo, Sampaloc, parts of Quezon City,
and outskirts of the metropolis like Valenzuela and Taguig are always
Every year typhoons cause hundreds of people
to die, not to mention large economic losses The Country suffers each
time the weather gets severe. The worst typhoons in the last few years
were: Sisang, November 26, 1987, which killed more than 650 people in
the Bicol region of south Luzon and rendered more than 500,000 homeless;
Gading, July 6-10, 1985 with almost 100 dead; and Undang, which left almost
900 dead when it swept over the Visayas November 3, 1984.
The weather predictions of PAGASA, are
generally reliable. Sometimes the forecast goes wrong, but one has to
admit that the weather itself at times does not behave as it should. It
has been known for a typhoon to swing back on itself and to return.
The rainy season is not necessarily a bad
time to visit the city since the sky is cloudy, shielding one from the
burning heat of the sun, and the temperature is comfortable with a soft
breeze. Moreover, aside from times of typhoons it often rains only for
two or three hours, usually in the afternoon.The
mean annual temperature is 26.5C (80F). Temperatures are measured in the
Philippines in degrees Celsius.
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