Iloilo sizzles in 46 Celsius heat on weekend

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The El Niño phenomenon and the dry season sizzled Iloilo City with a heat index of 46 degrees Celsius on Saturday, April 28, the highest heat index the city recorded since 2023.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that a record-breaking heat index of 46 degrees Celsius was recorded past 1:00 p.m.

Jan Baron, a weather forecaster at PAGASA-Iloilo, said this is the highest heat index ever recorded in the city since 2023. Last year’s record high was at 45 degrees Celsius.

Despite recording a danger level heat index on Saturday, several parts of Iloilo City experienced rainfall that lasted for at least one hour.

PAGASA explained that the combination of high heat and humidity creates atmospheric instability, which leads to the tendency of air parcels to rise and create vertical motion within the atmosphere and increase the likelihood of the formation of thunderstorms or rainfall.

Aside from this, PAGASA said Metro Manila and the rest of the country are likely to experience weather with partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms due to easterlies or winds coming from the east passing through the Pacific Ocean that bring warm and humid weather.

Some people, however, wondered why they still felt humid on Sunday evening.

According to PAGASA, despite the heavy rainfall, people may still feel humid because tropical rainstorms often bring warm, moist air down to the surface and the warm temperatures in the region contribute to high humidity levels even after the rain has stopped.

Meanwhile, PAGASA-Iloilo station has previously warned the public of the possibility of a much extreme heat to be felt in the next few days in Iloilo and the nearby provinces.

“We cannot discount the possibility that our air temperature and heat index may further spike, as we have just entered the hot, dry season, and the El Niño phenomenon is still ongoing,” said Pagasa weather observer Charlie Depra in an interview with Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo.

Onsite classes halted anew

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday announced that all public schools nationwide will implement asynchronous classes or distance learning on April 29 and 30.

DepEd cited the danger level heat index forecast of PAGASA in several parts of the country and the three-day nationwide strike set for the following week to protest against the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program and the approaching April 30 deadline for the consolidation of jeepney franchises.

“Teaching and non-teaching personnel in all public schools shall not be required to report to their respective stations,” it added.

DepEd also noted that activities organized by Regional and Schools Division Offices, such as Regional Athletic Association Meets and other division or school level programs, to be conducted on the suspension dates may push through as scheduled, provided that measures for the safety of all participants have been carefully considered.

Ahead of DepEd’s pronouncement, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas declared the suspension of face-to-face classes on Monday, April 29, for all levels in both public and private schools in the city.

Private schools with air conditioners are however exempted from the city mayor’s announcement.