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Weather and Climate in Philippines

Weather 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.

Philippines Temperature and Rainfall

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 strongly affected.

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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