Pagasa: Cebu heat index may hit 44°C, El Niño to ease by May’s end

Cebu City water crisis

A dried-up portion of land near the Buhisan Reservoir in Barangay Buhisan in Cebu City is a result of the scorching heat experienced in the past few months. | Photo taken on April 3/ Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – In recent months, going outdoors in Cebu has become increasingly risky due to soaring temperatures.

The heat index has consistently hovered between 36 to 38 degrees Celsius, reaching levels of “extreme caution.”

This rise in temperature is attributed to the strong El Niño, which was forecast to peak in intensity during the first quarter of this year.

However, relief may be on the horizon as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) predicts that the strong El Niño effect could fade by the end of May.

Engineer Al Quiblat, chief of Pagasa-Mactan, assured the public during the “Pagtuki, Pagsusi ug Pagsuta” program aired on Sugboanon Channel that the effects of El Niño might gradually diminish by the end of May.

Despite this, he advised remaining vigilant as El Niño is expected to persist until the following month.

“Pero wala na nagpasabot nga ang iyang impact nihinay sad. In fact, nagkakusog pa because of the combined effect sa atoang dry hot season,” Quiblat said.

Quiblat attributed the intense heat in Cebu to the ongoing dry season from March to April, which has been made worse by the impact of El Niño.

He clarified that the country is experiencing a “strong” El Niño, marked by sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific rising at least 1.5 degrees Celsius above normal levels.

While there’s a possibility for El Niño to weaken, Quiblat cautioned against high hopes. He mentioned that despite moving towards more neutral weather patterns by June, rainfall is expected to remain below average.

Additionally, Quiblat noted that this decreased rainfall trend is likely to persist, even as the weather shifts towards La Niña conditions later in the year.

“Bisan og mosulod na ang La Niña, expected gyud ang kakuwangan sa uwan. Duna sad tay forecast nga naay slight delayed onset of the rainy season,” he said.

Quiblat forecasts a delay in the onset of the rainy season this year, possibly not beginning until July instead of the usual late May to early June timeframe.

He highlighted Pagasa’s record-high temperature in Cebu on March 27, 2024, reaching about 39 degrees Celsius, indicating a trend of increasing heat.

Quiblat expects the heat index to soar to 41 degrees Celsius this month and potentially reach 44 degrees Celsius next month.

As a measure of discomfort from combined air temperature and humidity, Quiblat cautioned the public to prepare for worsening hot weather conditions. He advised against outdoor activities to prevent heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, urging people to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding warm beverages.

Quiblat also emphasized the risk to pets from extreme heat and advised pet owners to keep them well-hydrated to prevent heat stroke. /clorenciana

READ MORE: No classes in Cebu province due to extreme heat