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If you were satisfied with the chilly ber months, brace yourselves for colder days! The Amihan Season isn’t over yet and is, in fact, now at its peak! Here are some things to expect in the coming days, which also doubles as a possible playlist this cold season.

1. “Baby, it’s cold outside.” (Michael Bublé)
Have you noticed the slightly cooler weather these past few days? Amihan is responsible for this sweater weather. Amihan, characterized by cold and dry air coming from Mainland China and Siberia, causes our temperatures to drop mostly in the country’s northern regions.

In recent reports from Benguet, frost has blanketed some of the vegetable fields. Historically, here are the lowest temperatures recorded in the Philippines during the peak of amihan:
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2. “Raindrops keep falling on my head.” (BJ Thomas)
Apart from the chill, light rains may also occur during this season. Usually, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with light rains affect Northern and Central Luzon. But whenever a Low Pressure Area (LPA) or tropical cyclone prevails within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the northeasterly winds may converge with it, dumping rainfall over the affected areas.

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3. “Somebody take the storm away.” (Bobby Brown)
The peak of amihan does not equate to the absence of tropical cyclones. At least 1 or 2 tropical cyclones may still enter our premises. In fact, the stronger the amihan is, the higher the chance of the cyclone hitting the land. Amihan tends to divert the pathway of cyclones entering the PAR. So, aside from moving in a more northward direction, cyclones are being pushed down to the landmass.

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4. “You’re hot and you’re cold.” (Katy Perry)
The cold and dry characteristics of amihan are the opposite of what a cyclone needs to sustain its energy. A cyclone needs warm and moist surroundings to maintain its intensity. If amihan strengthens, it may cause a cyclone or an LPA to weaken and may even dissipate.
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5. “Ocean deep, I’m afraid to show my feelings.” (Cliff Richard)
Just like the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat, amihan can also trigger rough coastal waters. Gale warnings are usually issued by PAGASA in areas with strong to gale force winds. Rough to very rough sea conditions may interrupt sea travel as sea conditions may be risky for fishing boats and other small sea craft.

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2015 is here! Another year, another set of goals. But before we outline our plans for the new year, let us first familiarize ourselves with this month’s weather.

1) Rains won’t go away yet.

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This month marks the start of another year but rainy days won’t end yet for some areas of the country. PAGASA Weather Forecaster Buddy Javier said the northeast monsoon or amihan and the tail end of a cold front will be dominant. Amihan is cold and dry air coming from Mainland China or Siberia, bringing light rains mostly over Northern and Central Luzon.

Meanwhile, the tail end of a cold front refers to the extended part of a cold front which is formed when the cold air mass dominates the warm air mass during a convergence. Javier added that at this time, Southern Luzon usually experiences cloudy skies, as well as light and moderate to occasionally heavy rain showers and thunderstorms. However, the tail end of a cold front can recede or move, depending on the strength of amihan.

2) January’s not totally “bagyo-free”.

According to PAGASA, the average number of tropical cyclones that usually enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this month is 0 to 1. This means that there is still a chance for us to experience stormy weather even in the first month of the year.

Climatologically speaking, a cyclone that may enter the PAR could cross the archipelago or make landfall, particularly over the Visayas area. It is also possible for it to re-curve, moving away from the landmass. The surge of the northeast monsoon or amihan influences its movement.

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3) The much awaited sweater-weather is here.

Amihan peaks this month, bringing colder weather mostly over Luzon. Minimum temperatures are usually recorded during this chilly part of the year. One of the significant amihan-related events happened on January 18, 1961 when Baguio City’s temperature dropped to 6.3 degrees Celsius.

BAGUIO TEMP

The Philippines remains bagyo-free on the first Monday of 2015. Weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar says in an interview that no weather disturbance has been monitored inside or outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

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Two weather systems remain to influence the country’s weather – the tail-end of a cold front in Eastern Visayas and the northeast monsoon prevailing in Luzon.

The tail-end of a cold front is the boundary between the northeasterlies and the easterlies. The convergence of the cold and dry air of the former and the warm and humid air of the latter generate cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers.

On the other hand, the northeast monsoon or amihan brings light rains over the regions of Cagayan Valley and Cordillera. Isolated rain showers can be experienced in Metro Manila and the remaining parts of Luzon. The rest of the country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, PAGASA has not issued any gale warnings today after releasing the final advisory yesterday due to the weakened northeast monsoon.

AMIHAN: THE COLDEST DAYS

According to PAGASA, the peak months of the northeast monsoon are January and February when the lowest temperatures during the season are recorded.

In history, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Philippines was in Baguio City on January 18, 1961 with 6.3 degrees Celsius.

Metro Manila, which has three stations, recorded the lowest temperatures ranging from 14.5 to 14.9 degrees Celsius as shown below:

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Partly cloudy skies with isolated light rains will be experienced over Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos Region as the northeast monsoon continues to prevail over the extreme Northern Luzon. Meanwhile, the easterlies will still affect the eastern section of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Metro Manila and the rest of the country can look forward to a generally fair weather with possible isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

The northeast monsoon, locally known as amihan, is characterized by cold and dry air coming from Mainland China. The gradual intensification of this wind system results to colder early mornings. On the other hand, the easterlies, coming from the Pacific Ocean, brings warm and humid weather, mostly over the eastern side of the country.

PAGASA issued a gale warning, which covers the seaboards of Northern Luzon. Due to the rough to very rough sea conditions, fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.

MTSAT Image from PAGASA
MTSAT Image from PAGASA

Forecasting temperatures

To guide us on our daily activities, the weather bureau provides the range of temperatures expected in key cities in the Philippines.

PAGASA Weather Forecaster Jun Galang explained that they forecast these temperatures by using the CLIPER (Climatology and Persistence) method and actual data. Based on the observed high and low temperatures of a certain city, CLIPER allows forecasters to chart its expected highest and lowest temperatures the next day.

For today’s temperature, Metro Manila will have 23-32°C. A temperature range of 25-32°C will be experienced in Metro Cebu while Metro Davao can expect a slightly warmer day with 25-34°C.