By: Jaymee T. Gamil, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mar 25, 2017
The heat is on—way before the official summer season.
The Philippines once again experienced heat reaching feverish levels on Friday, with Metro Manila registering a heat index of 38.5 degrees Celsius, with a temperature of 34.2 degrees as of 2 p.m., at the weather bureau’s station in its central office in Quezon City.
The highest heat index in the country as of Friday, 2 p.m., was registered in Cotabato City at 44.1 degrees, with a temperature of 35 degrees, said weather specialist Meliton Guzman of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
The same heat index was recorded in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, at 5 p.m. on Thursday—the highest for that day across the country.
Heat indices past 40 degrees on Thursday were also recorded at the Pagasa station in Sangley Point, Cavite, which reached 43.1 degrees at 11 a.m.; Ambulong, Batangas, which reached 42.3 degrees at 2 p.m.; Dipolog, Zamboanga Del Norte, which reached 41 degrees at 2 p.m.; and Pasay and Quezon cities in Metro Manila, which registered 40.5 degrees and 40.1 degrees at 2 p.m., respectively.
The “heat index” or the “human discomfort index,” colloquially dubbed “init factor,” is the temperature people feel, as opposed to the temperature measured by a dry-bulb thermometer. High air temperatures and high relative humidity will give high heat indices.
According to Pagasa, a heat index of 32 degrees to 41 degrees calls for “extreme caution,” exposure to which could cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Continuing activity in such hot conditions could result in heat stroke.
A heat index of 41 to 54 degrees is already categorized as “dangerous,” with heat cramps and heat exhaustion likely, and heat stroke probable with continued activity. A heat index above 54 degrees is “extremely dangerous,” with heat stroke imminent.
A heat index of 27 to 32 degrees is already deserving of “caution.” Under these levels, fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and activity to heat, and continuing activity could result to heat cramps.
Pagasa starts measuring the heat index by March. The heat is expected to last throughout the annual dry season, and until the rainy season starts ideally by June.