Hailstorm in Baguio Forebodes Dry Spell: Drought to Follow?

The isolated hailstorm that hit a village in Baguio City Tuesday forebodes a stark reality – a dry spell ahead, an official of the PAGASA announced recently.

Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 26, August 5-11, 2007

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila) – The isolated hailstorm that hit a barangay (village) in this highland city Tuesday forebodes a stark reality – a dry spell ahead, an official of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced recently.

Accompanying the downpour in the afternoon of July 31 was the raining of ice pellets the size of corn kernel, which government weatherman Engr. Joseph Rios confirmed was hail, in Pacdal village here.

“Hail is a form of precipitation which consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice (hailstones), 5 mm–50 mm in diameter on average, with much larger hailstones from severe thunderstorms,” Rios said. The July 31 hail, Rios explained, is due to the extreme weather being experienced. In simple terms, “it was a precipitation in the form of ice pellets,” he said.

July 31’s almost 5-minute phenomenon in Baguio City was a result of the formation of a convective cloud due to surface heating. In fact, a super convective cloud might have caused the Pacdal incident, Rios said.

This phenomenon is not at all a good sign to be appreciated for bringing the much-needed rainfall in the city. On the contrary, Rios said, it is a foreboding of a dry spell.

Actually, Rios said, July was a dry spell month for Baguio City. Only 200 millimeters of accumulated monthly rainfall was recorded in Baguio City in July – which. Rios revealed, is 50 percent below the average for the city.

Baguio’s average accumulate monthly rainfall is measured at 838 millimeters, which means that the highland resort city ever since have been experiencing more rainfall compared to other cities and provinces in the lowlands.


The dry spell last July, Rios explained, could bring a drought. Drought is brought about by three consecutive dry-spell months, the government weatherman explained. Hence, from August to October, Rios believes, there will be drought in Baguio City. “If rains do not come this month, then there will be a prolonged drought because (when) we enter October, it is the dry months already,” Rios said. “If it doe not rain until October we might have an extended drought.”

Rios said, however, PAGASA has spotted a tropical depression that might come although it is believed to be headed for Southern Japan. “Uzagi,” as the tropical depression is called in Japan, might not cross the country, Rios said.

Another tropical depression is also incoming. This could also bring rains but it will be short-lived, Rios lamented. “Although, we hope the rains come soon,” Rios said.

Rios said that Baguio City might just be luckier than the rest of its neighbors in Northern Luzon owing it to its remaining forest cover. Compared to La Union and Isabela, “we are lucky because it rains every afternoon here,” he said.

According to the weatherman, La Union and Isabela had been suffering a dry spell since three months ago. There will already be a drought there this August, he explained. The number of rainy days per month in Baguio City is still normal (23 out of 26 rainy days) although the rains are short also, Rios said. He also said that thunderstorms had 21 episodes in the city, six more than the expected 15 – a good sign, he said.

Rios claimed that Tuesday’s hail is not new to Baguio and Benguet. In May, corn kernel-sized hail dropped in La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital town. Another hailstorm occurred in Loakan village here, also during the summer months.

In September 2006, residents in Lourdes Proper, Dominican, Middle Rock Quarry and City Camp in Baguio City brought out basins to catch pieces of hail. Rios had predicted then that there would be a repeat this August. Northern Dispatch / Posted byBulatlat.com

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