Longer sea-stirring ‘amihan’ episodes ahead

MANILA — Further danger to sailing is likely off Northern Luzon with the expected increasing duration of the strong northeast monsoon or ‘amihan’, bringing winds that will continue to fan sea turbulence in the area.

Increasingly longer episodes of ‘amihan’ can be expected, heading into this weather system’s peak next year, noted weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio of the state weather bureau, PAGASA.

“We’re already beginning to see such scenario,” he noted.

A strong ‘amihan’ packing strong to gale-force winds has been affecting Northern Luzon since last week, stirring seas off that area and making sailing there dangerous.

In its gale warning 17 released Tuesday, PAGASA forecast ‘amihan’ winds to continue and still affect Northern Luzon, particularly the northern seaboard covering Batanes province, Calayan and Babuyan islands, as well as the northern coasts of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte provinces.

Expected 52 kph to 63 kph winds will likely fan rough to very rough seas in the areas, with waves up to 4.5 meters high.

“Fishing boats and other small sea craft are advised not to venture out into sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves,” PAGASA cautioned.

The bureau said the annual ‘amihan’ affects the Philippines’ eastern portions from Oct. to late March, peaking around January.

“During its peak, ‘amihan’ can affect even the Visayas,” Aurelio said, adding that there are periods of weak and strong ‘amihan’.

Weak ‘amihan’ generally marks this weather system’s early days, he said.

He noted that increasingly longer episodes of strong ‘amihan’ are normal occurrences and can be expected beginning around this time of the year.

Such episodes can persist until January or even February, he said.

PAGASA said ‘amihan’ starts over Siberia as a cold, dry air mass that gathers moisture while traveling across Pacific Ocean.

’Amihan’ is characterized by “widespread” cloudiness with rains or showers, PAGASA continued.

“Cloudy skies with light rains will be experienced over Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya provinces,” it said in its 24-hour Northern Luzon weather forecast released Tuesday.

The bureau also forecast partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains over Northern Luzon’s Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga and Apayao provinces.

“Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms will prevail over Aurora province,” PAGASA added. Catherine Teves/PNA-northboundasia.com