Thursday, October 25, 2007

A few typhoons this year

While Southern California was reeling from plenty of wild fires aided by very strong desert winds with gustiness up to 100 mph sometimes, Metro Manila and surrounding provinces was cloudy and wet for 3 straight days. The reason was a low-pressure area in the southern part of the country that pushed those cold winds and thick rain clouds. The low pressure area though, did not graduate to become a new typhoon.

It is now late October and so far, the Philippines has had only about 6 typhoons this year. This is unusual. The country would get around 19 to 20 typhoons a year on average. The rainy season usually ends by October, with occasional rains falling by November and December. The country's weather bureau, PAG-ASA, earlier announced that "La Nina" phenomenon might extend the rainy season until December this year. Lucky for us if this happens, because the rainy season was delayed by 2 months this year. Instead of May or June, the regular rains came by August.

Of course, less typhoons means less destruction. Last year, the country experienced about 2 super-typhoons -- typhoons with winds more than 200 kph. One typhoon, localled called "Milenyo", packed winds up to 250 kph, so it knocked down thousands of trees, electrical posts, houses and giant billboards. Many people were also killed, and much plentier were rendered homeless and injured. This year, we are lucky that we don't have such kind of super-typhoons.

Since early this year though, the price of rice and other agricultural products have been rising. The delayed rains middle of this year is among the main reasons. Delayed rains meant delayed planting, and hence, delayed harvesting. Many rice farmers are just harvesting their first cropping in the previous weeks, when they should have already planted rice in the second cropping.

Meanwhile, dams for irrigation and/or hydro power plants have not fully stock enough water for the coming dry and rainless months. One beauty of plenty of typhoons is that they pour plenty of rains for the fields and the dams. With few typhoons, we had less rains to fill up our dams.

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