Friday, October 20, 2006

El Nino

For some time now, the government has been warning residents of the provinces on the northeastern section of Mindanao that dry weather may be ahead because of the so called El Nino phenomenon.

That the incidence and amount of rainfall in the Lianga area has been reduced cannot be argued. Blisteringly hot days and soaring temperatures are the norm now in what is supposed to be the beginning of the yearly rainy season.

But Lianga does get the occasional rainfall, some of them quite heavy, particularly in the later part of certain days and this has, in many ways, taken the edge off the general apprehension concerning the grave economic and environmental consequences of a generalized drought in this part of the country.

The truth of the matter is that the area around the town has for decades been spared, on the most part, the dreaded effects of El Nino. By some quirk of nature and probably because of its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the Lianga area has always had the blessings of adequate rainfall. In most cases, particularly when tropical storms pass nearby, its problems lay more in the over abundance of rain rather than the lack of it.

But the weather patterns are changing and as the local population sweat it out from one hot day to the other, more and more of them are wondering if the worst of the dry weather is still to come and what effect that would have on the area's hard pressed agricultural economy.

Lianga had been spared the worst of the 1997 to 1998 El Nino drought and many locals are wondering if they will still be as lucky this time around.

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