Brace for cooler and longer nights as the earth reaches the winter solstice, the weather bureau said yesterday.
Weather Specialist II Jose Mendoza of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the winter solstice started last Sept. 23, leading to shorter days and longer nights.
Mendoza said the country could expect 13 hours of night on Dec. 22 or 23.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice marks the beginning of a shift in seasons, from autumn to winter.
Mendoza explained that during the winter solstice, the North Pole tilts away from the sun. Countries within the Northern Hemisphere could then observe that the sun stays low in the sky, which signifies that the days are shorter and the nights are longer and cooler.
At daytime, the sun will look as if it is standing still in the horizon. Solstice literally means “standing still.”
Pagasa weather forecaster Nonoy About said the northeast monsoon has started to prevail over the country since the first week of November, bringing cooler weather.
Pagasa records showed that the coldest temperature recorded in Metro Manila was at 15.1 degrees Celsius on Feb. 4, 1987.
In Baguio City, the coldest temperature was at 6.3 degrees Celsius on Jan. 18, 1961.
Pagasa said the northeast monsoon normally peaks during the last week of January until mid-February.
Meanwhile, weathermen spotted a new active low pressure area (LPA) 270 kilometers west of Batangas, aside from the one located some 680 kms east-northeast of Aparri, Cagayan.
The active LPA off Batangas might gather more strength and develop into a tropical cyclone, they said.
Pagasa said rains would continue to prevail over the country in the next 24 hours as tropical depression “Quinta” (international codename Maysak) moved slowly over the South China Sea.
Weather forecaster Chris Perez said aside from Quinta, the LPA spotted off Aparri also induced rains over some parts of the country.
Perez, however, said the LPA nearing the province is not expected to develop into a tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours.
At 2 p.m. yesterday, Quinta was spotted 335 kms northwest of Puerto Princesa, with maximum sustained winds of 45 kph.
Perez said Quinta will be 370 kms west of Puerto Prinsesa City this morning and 490 kms west-southwest of Puerto Prinsesa City tomorrow morning.
Based on satellite images, the LPA was 510 kms east-northeast of Aparri at 10 a.m. yesterday.
Perez said Quinta is predicted to leave the Philippine area of responsibility by Thursday morning.
It re-entered the country last Monday morning, making it the first tropical cyclone to re-curve this year.
Weather forecasters earlier explained that Quinta’s interaction with a high-pressure area in the north forced it to return to the country.
Tropical depression Rolly also entered the country over the weekend, but weakened into a low-pressure area last Sunday.
Perez said Luzon, including Metro Manila, would experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms in the next 24 hours.
Visayas would have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rain showers, while Mindanao would experience partly cloudy skies with isolated rains.
Perez said improved weather is expected over Luzon starting Thursday.
However, Visayas and Mindanao would receive more rains within the next 48 to 72 hours as the tail end of a cold front moves toward these regions.
“Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out to sea, while ships are alerted against high waves,” he said.