THE government weather service, known as PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), said the probability of the La Niña rains starting as early as June is now estimated at 55%, bringing a measure of relief from the current dry conditions.

Ana Liza S. Solis, officer-in-charge at PAGASA’s Climatology and Agrometeorology Division, told a House committee that the weather service now sees a more-than-even probability that the rains will come at their accustomed time of year, suggesting a possible end to the prevailing dry conditions brought on by El Niño.

PAGASA has said before that the El Niño transition to the wetter La Niña will come sometime in the second half.

“There are increasing odds of a La Niña possibility developing in June, July, and August to around 55%,” Ms. Solis told the House of Representatives Agriculture and Food Committee.

Nevertheless, PAGASA sees the effects of El Niño possibly lingering in parts of the country for a few more months.

“The peak (El Niño) impact is March, April, May, and June,” Ms. Solis said.

The areas at risk of lingering dry conditions are mostly in Luzon — Metro Manila, Laguna, Pangasinan, Rizal, and Tarlac, she said.

She added that parts of Luzon could still be in drought as late as August despite any rains, which may be at levels PAGASA considers below normal, Ms. Solis said. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio