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Weather plays an important role in our lives. By monitoring the weather, we are equipped to handle our routines and are prepared for possible hazards.
 
But in this day and age where ideas can be disseminated with the click of a mouse, it’s our responsibility to verify before sharing them. To get you started, here are some weather myths that need to be debunked.
 
1) Climate and weather are the same.
 

 
This is one of the most common weather misconceptions that can be clarified by understanding one important factor – time.
 
Weather refers to the condition of the atmosphere over a short period of time. It is what we experience when we step outside on any day: sunny, windy, cloudy, rainy or stormy. Climate, on the other hand, refers to how the atmosphere behaves over a relatively long period of time, usually 30 years or more.
 
2) Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
 

 
 
Originating from an idiom which means that a highly unlikely incident can never happen to the same person twice, this myth–when taken seriously— can actually lead to misfortune.
The truth is that tall, pointed, isolated objects can generate strong electric fields that can be repeatedly struck by lightning.  
 
In the Philippines for example, lightning has struck the Metro Rail Transit lines thrice in the past years, halting operations. In fact, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explained that cloud-to-ground lightning frequently strikes the ground in two or more places. The chances of being struck are about 45% higher than what most of us commonly assume.
 
3) Sun + Rains = Tikbalang Wedding
 

 
According to Philippine folklore, whenever rains fall while the sun is shining, it means that a mythical creature called tikbalang (a half-human, half horse trickster that hangs out in the forests and mountains, leading travelers astray) is being wed.
 
PAGASA explains that both sunshine and rain may occur at the same time during the Hot and Dry Season. Called “sun showers”, this happens when the ground surface heats up, resulting to a vertical movement of warm air. This forms clouds that bring precipitation while the sun is at a 30-degree angle from the earth. This weather phenomenon most likely occurs in the months of March, April and May.
 
4) There is summer in the Philippines.

 

 
Summer vacations, summer adventures and summer getaways are some phrases we off-handedly use during school break from March to May. do you know that there is no summer here in the country?
 
According to PAGASA, the Philippines, being a tropical country, has only two official seasons – wet and dry. A season refers to the time of the year caused by the tilting of the Earth. The location of an area, whether it is in the northern or southern hemisphere, affects its seasons. Other regions have complete seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall.
 
In Philippine context, the Hot and Dry Season is the equivalent of summer. This marks the start of warm and humid days.

With the prevailing Easterlies, warm and humid weather will continue in most parts of the country. Easterlies are winds coming from the Pacific Ocean, which usually affect the eastern section of the country. These winds become dominant during the Hot and Dry season, resulting to higher temperatures.

PAGASA says the whole archipelago will experience generally fair weather with chances of isolated rain showers or thunderstorms. Some may ask how it’s possible for thunderstorms to occur during “tag-init”.

This is because the accumulated heat during the day may speed up the water cycle. Clouds may form in the latter part of the day, generating localized thunderstorms that may last for 1 to 2 hours.

Yesterday, temperatures soared in some parts of the country. Here are the highest temperatures recorded, with General Santos City consistently on top of the list.

HIGHEST TEMP (2)

When air temperature and relative humidity combine, much higher temperatures are expected. Heat index, which indicates how the human body perceives the heat, is also monitored regularly. Here’s what to expect on today’s “init” feels:

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Beware of Rip Currents

Planning to go swimming with your friends? Before you take a dip, be familiar with one of the swimming risks that many people are not yet aware of.

Warnings about rip currents or rip tides have been circulating in social media these past few days. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-flowing water.

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Usually, rip currents appear with a 5 to 10-meter gap in a compact area of inward-flowing waves. This phenomenon is dangerous for swimmers because the current can drown you once you get caught in it.

When you encounter rip currents, don’t panic. It becomes harder to think of ways and find solutions if you are in a state of panic. You also have to save your strength to escape. Remember not to swim directly back to shore and instead, swim parallel to it.

This vacation season, awareness remains to be the key to safety. Share this to your friends and help save lives!
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Sources:
PAGASA-DOST
NOAA
http://brightside.me/

We’ve said goodbye to the love month and have welcomed the 3rd month of 2016. As we march on, take time to get an overview of this month’s expected weather:

Goodbye “Amihan”?
PAGASA says the termination of the Northeast Monsoon, locally known as “Amihan”, usually happens in the first half of March. Amihan is cold and dry air mass that comes from the Mainland China or Siberia. It started to affect the country during the “ber” months of last year, and peaked in January to February.

However, Amihan may be down to its last hurrah this month as a gradual increase in daily temperature is now being experienced in most parts of the country. Wind direction is also starting to shift from northeasterly to easterly. Thus, termination of the Northeast Monsoon is imminent.

According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Benison Estareja, a slight upswing of temperature in upland areas like Baguio City will be the most evident. Here are the average minimum and maximum temperatures in the key cities of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao this March.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.29.27 PM

“Tag-init” bound
The weakening of Amihan means we are on our way to another season. Thus, we are already approaching the “tag-init” in the Philippines, wherein we’ll experience the effect of the easterlies.

Easterlies, on the other hand, are winds coming from the Pacific Ocean. As these winds intensify, air temperatures begin to soar, making the weather warmer and more humid.

Q: Do we really have “Summer” in the Philippines?
No we don’t. In Philippine context, the Hot and Dry season is the equivalent of summer. This marks the start of warm and humid days in the country.

The start of “tag-init” normally begins in the first or second week of March. Certain factors are observed before declaring the official Hot and Dry season. These include the consecutive rise of temperatures, termination of the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan, presence of a High-Pressure Area (HPA) and the prevailing Easterlies.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.36.46 PM

Rain and Shine
Different weather systems, which may cause warm weather but may still pose chances of rains, are expected to affect the archipelago. These include the Northeast Monsoon, Tail End of a Cold Front, Low-Pressure Area (LPA), Tropical Cyclone, Ridge of High-Pressure Area and Easterlies.

Despite the approaching “tag-init”, the possible formation of weather disturbance remains. In fact, there is an average of 0 or 1 tropical cyclone this March. Hence, PAGASA continues to remind the public to stay vigilant against a possible “bagyo”.

Based on the climatological records of the weather bureau, a cyclone’s path may be a hit or miss: (a) A cyclone may make landfall particularly in Visayas or Southern Luzon (b) A cyclone may re-curve, moving farther away from the landmass.

Last March 2015, Tropical Cyclone “Betty” was recorded to enter the Philippine boundary and brought rains over some parts of Luzon.

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We’ve said goodbye to the love month and have welcomed the 3rd month of 2016. As we march on, take time to get an overview of this month’s expected weather:

Goodbye “Amihan”?

PAGASA says the termination of the Northeast Monsoon, locally known as “Amihan”, usually happens in the first half of March. Amihan is cold and dry air mass that comes from the Mainland China or Siberia. It started to affect the country during the “ber” months of last year, and peaked in January to February.

However, Amihan may be down to its last hurrah this month as a gradual increase in daily temperature is now being experienced in most parts of the country. Wind direction is also starting to shift from northeasterly to easterly. Thus, termination of the Northeast Monsoon is imminent.

According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Benison Estareja, a slight upswing of temperature in upland areas like Baguio City will be the most evident. Here are the average minimum and maximum temperatures in the key cities of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao this March.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.29.27 PM

“Tag-init” bound

The weakening of Amihan means we are on our way to another season. Thus, we are already approaching the “tag-init” in the Philippines, wherein we’ll experience the effect of the easterlies.

Easterlies, on the other hand, are winds coming from the Pacific Ocean. As these winds intensify, air temperatures begin to soar, making the weather warmer and more humid.

Q: Do we really have “Summer” in the Philippines?
No we don’t. In Philippine context, the Hot and Dry season is the equivalent of summer. This marks the start of warm and humid days in the country.

The start of “tag-init” normally begins in the first or second week of March. Certain factors are observed before declaring the official Hot and Dry season. These include the consecutive rise of temperatures, termination of the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan, presence of a High-Pressure Area (HPA) and the prevailing Easterlies.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 7.36.46 PM

Rain and Shine

Different weather systems, which may cause warm weather but may still pose chances of rains, are expected to affect the archipelago. These include the Northeast Monsoon, Tail End of a Cold Front, Low-Pressure Area (LPA), Tropical Cyclone, Ridge of High-Pressure Area and Easterlies.

Despite the approaching “tag-init”, the possible formation of weather disturbance remains. In fact, there is an average of 0 or 1 tropical cyclone this March. Hence, PAGASA continues to remind the public to stay vigilant against a possible “bagyo”.

Based on the climatological records of the weather bureau, a cyclone’s path may be a hit or miss: (a) A cyclone may make landfall particularly in Visayas or Southern Luzon (b) A cyclone may re-curve, moving farther away from the landmass.

Last March 2015, Tropical Cyclone “Betty” was recorded to enter the Philippine boundary and brought rains over some parts of Luzon.

mar9

Be ready for a longer time of fun under the sun as the summer solstice sets in on June 22, 2015.

This annual astronomical event pertains to the longest daytime in the northern hemisphere and the opposite in the southern hemisphere where Winter Solstice will take place.

According to Engr. Dario dela Cruz, Chief of the Space Sciences and Astronomy Section of PAGASA, Summer Solstice in the Philippines will begin at 12:38 AM (Philippine Standard Time).

The said phenomenon marks the start of summer in the United States and other countries situated in higher latitudes. However, the opposite happens in the Philippines where the rainy season is just about to begin since it is near the equator.

During the Summer Solstice, the sun attains its greatest declination of +23.5 degrees and passes directly overhead at noon at a latitude of 23.5 degrees north, which is known as the Tropic of Cancer. This event marks the start of the apparent southward movement of the Sun in the ecliptic, dela Cruz added.

At this time, the sun appears at its highest elevation caused by the Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the sun. This is when the northern hemisphere leans nearest to the sun.

Aside from the solstices that occur during June and December, we also experience equinoxes in the months of March and September, which result to an approximately equal duration of night and daytime. (link to past article re equinox)

The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol, which means “sun,” and sistere meaning to “stand still.” Therefore, solstice literally translates into “the sun stands still.”

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PAGASA declares the termination of the northeast monsoon season in the Philippines, marking the start of the hot and dry season in the country.

With this development, the ridge of high pressure area and the easterlies will be the dominant weather systems in the coming days.
These systems bring generally good weather and warm days in most areas of the Philippines. However, this does not mean we are free from possible wet days.

Isolated cases of rain showers and thunderstorms may also happen due to the following:

1. Urban Heat Island Effect – wherein the concrete structures and the ground are unable to absorb and trap heat from the sun. The warmer the air over the city,the higher its capacity to hold more moisture.

These factors combine to create convergence and lead to thunderstorm formation in a particular locale, especially over the cities as their surfaces are prone to release large quantities of heat.

2. Wind Convergence – wherein two different air masses meet–winds coming from the northeast and the easterlies.

The convergence of the cold and dry air of the northeast winds, and the warm and humid air of the easterlies generate cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers or thunderstorms.

On the other hand, seafarers may enjoy calm coastal waters aside from at times moderate waves due to the possible prevalence of the easterlies, particularly over Eastern Luzon and Visayas.

Stay cool this hot season. Take precautionary measures to protect yourself from various heat-related illnesses. Read here: http://www.panahon.tv/blog/2015/03/staying-cool-this-hot-season/

Even before the onset of the Hot and Dry season, parts of the Philippines have already been experiencing hot weather conditions.

That’s why we need to learn how to protect ourselves from the heat, especially those who are at greater risk during this season. These include elderly people aged 65 and above, infants, young children, people who are overweight, with chronic diseases, with mental illness, and even healthy individuals undergoing strenuous physical activities during the hot months. They are the most vulnerable to heat-related incidents as high temperatures can affect the body’s ability to release heat and properly cool down.

HEAT EXHAUSTION
Being exposed to high temperatures and inadequate intake of water can result to heat exhaustion. Water depletion and salt depletion are two types of this illness. Although this is not as serious as heat stroke, heat exhaustion is not to be taken lightly as it may progress to heat stroke if left untreated.

Warning Signs:
• Dehydration, intense thirst
• Warm, flushed skin
• Dizziness or fainting
• Weakness or discomfort
• Anxiety
• Headache
• Fatigue

HEAT STROKE
The most serious of heat-related illnesses, heat stroke occurs when the body overheats and is unable to cool down.

This is a life-threatening emergency that may cause permanent disability or worse, death, if medical assistance is not immediately provided.

Warning Signs:
• Very high fever
• Rapid heartbeat
• Nausea and vomiting
• Convulsion
• Delirium
• Unconsciousness

HEAT CRAMPS
Individuals, who remain physically active in hot weather, engaging in activities such as exercise, sports, and extensive manual labor, are vulnerable to heat cramps. These are intermittent, involuntary muscle spasms, and are often associated with dehydration.

Most cases occur in the thigh and leg areas, the core and arm muscles during or after exerting effort in a hot environment.

Warning Sign:
• Muscle spasms that are painful, involuntary, intermittent and may be more intense that the typical muscle cramps

PRICKLY HEAT
Prickly heat or bungang araw is a skin condition characterized by tiny bumps or water blisters that appear due to the clogging of sweat glands during hot and humid weather.

Its most common locations are the forehead, upper back and chest, armpits, and groin areas.

Warning Signs:
• Prickly sensation
• Red bumps or rashes on the skin
• Mild swelling of the affected part

SUNBURN
The most obvious result of staying under the sun for too long is sunburn. It is the term used for reddish, irritated and sometimes, painful skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It may vary from mild to severe, the extent depending on skin type, amount of exposure to the sun, and the sun’s intensity.

Warning Signs:
• Reddening of the skin
• Development of blisters
• Fever or chills
• Nausea
• Headache
• Weakness
• Itchiness
• Peeling skin

Tag-init Common Diseases Sunburn Series 1

Tag-init Common Diseases Sunburn Series 3

SORE EYES
Another health woe during this season is sore eyes. Also known as conjunctivitis, this is characterized by redness and inflammation of the membranes in the eyes.

It can spread through direct contact with hands contaminated with eye secretions of an infected person, or through other things contaminated with the virus. This can also be acquired by swimming in poorly chlorinated pools.

Warning Signs:
• Watery to pus-like discharge
• Redness of the eye with pain and/or itchiness
• Eyelids stuck together upon waking up

Vacation time, coupled with hot weather conditions, is perfect for different types of outdoor activities. But remember to keep cool and use common sense so you stay healthy during the hottest days of the year.

Here are important tips to prevent heat-related woes:
• Drink plenty of water and replace the salts lost through perspiration.
• Avoid intake of tea, coffee, soda and alcohol to lessen chance of dehydration.
• Schedule rigorous physical activities at the beginning or the end of the day when it’s cooler.
• Take a bath every day.
• Wear light and loose clothing.
• Limit exposure to the sun.
• Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to avoid sunburn prior to going out. Reapply it during the day.
• Adjust to the environment; pace yourself and take it easy.
• Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
• Stay up-to-date with weather reports to gauge how long you can stay out in the sun.

Sources:
National Center for Health Promotion
Department of Health

Swimming, island hopping, surfing and trekking—these are only some of the activities we love to do every summer. But do you know that there is actually no summer here in the Philippines?

Season refers to the time of the year caused by the tilting of the Earth. The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) further explains that it is the division of the year based on the recurring astronomical or climatic phenomenon.

However, the location of an area, whether it is in the northern or southern hemisphere, affects its seasons. Other regions have complete seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. The Philippines, being a tropical country, has only two official seasons – wet and dry.

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Wet Season (Tag-Ulan) – This usually starts in the month of June, wherein the southwest monsoon or habagat becomes the dominant weather system affecting the western section of the country.

Habagat is warm and moist in nature. It can be enhanced by a weather disturbance or tropical cyclone that enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). A surge of habagat could dump moderate to heavy, or heavy to intense rainfall over the affected areas which may persist for hours. The highest rainfall and flooding incidents are usually experienced during this time of the year.

Dry Season (Tag-Init) – In Philippine context, the hot and dry season is the equivalent of summer. This marks the start of warm and humid days in the country. The warm weather is brought by the easterlies and the ridge of a high pressure area. Easterlies are winds coming from the Pacific Ocean, the largest of the oceanic divisions in the world. On the other hand, a ridge or the extended part of a high pressure area (HPA) is associated with good weather. Unlike a low pressure area (LPA), fewer clouds are formed with less chance of precipitation.

Tag-init na ba?

Since the latter part of February, we have been experiencing hotter days, mostly in the early afternoon. According to PAGASA, this is just normal as we approach a new season. The start of “tag-init” normally begins on the first or second week of March. Certain factors are being observed before declaring the official hot and dry season.
These include the consecutive rise of temperatures, termination of the northeast monsoon or amihan, presence of a high pressure area and the prevailing easterlies.

TAG INIT INDICATORS

Last year, the official “tag-init” was declared on March 26, 2014. Based on records, the highest temperature recorded in March last year reached 37.9 degrees Celsius.

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Meanwhile, PAGASA noted that record-breaking hottest temperatures in the Philippines were mostly felt during month of May.

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