By Daniel Llanto

The state weather bureau calmed down fears of a heat wave obtaining in the Philippines following the death of a singer-actor due to alleged heat stroke and temperatures reaching 39 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country.

There is no truth that the Philippines will experience an “equinox phenomenon in the next five days” which would supposedly make temperatures rise as high as 40 degrees Celsius, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

A false message circulated on social media and on messaging platforms which implied that a “heat wave” will occur in view of the supposed equinox phenomenon.  It cited the death due to supposed heat stroke of Sonny Parsons, band member of Hagibis and former actor and town councilor.

Walang katotohanan na magkakaroon ng ‘equinox phenomenon’ sa susunod na limang araw sapagkat tapos na ang spring equinox noong 20 Marso. Ang autumnal equinox naman ay mangyayari sa 23 Setyembre pa,” the agency clarified on Facebook.

In the same FB post, the weather bureau also shared info-graphics about equinoxes and heat wave, temperature increase and tips on what to do during the dry season.

There are only two equinoxes that the earth experiences, according to PAGASA. These are the spring equinox that marks the beginning of longer days and shorter nights in the country.

An autumn equinox, meanwhile, is the start of longer nights and shorter days.

An equinox happens when the solar terminator, otherwise known as the dividing line separating the light and dark parts of the planet, becomes perpendicular to the equator.

This results in a nearly equal length of day and night all over the planet where there are 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

The viral message also claimed that there will be a “heat wave” in the supposed “next five days” but PAGASA said that the country is not yet experiencing the phenomenon despite the rising temperatures.

Citing the World Meteorological Organization, the weather agency stated that a heat wave is a period during which the maximum temperature recorded in five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by five degrees Celsius.

Halimbawa: Ang average maximum temperature ng istasyon na ito ay 33 degrees Celsius. Ibig sabihin, sa mga petsa na 2-6 kung saan lumampas ng 5 degrees Celsius ang naitalang temperatura mula sa average ay may heat wave,” it said, referring to its Quezon City station.

The agency said that the Philippines is not yet experiencing a heat wave since its monitoring stations located across the country has not yet recorded a temperature that exceeds five degrees Celsius from the recorded average maximum temperature.

PAGASA explained that the Philippines is experiencing a dry season that started in March and will last until May or the first week of June.

Maiinit at maalinsangan ang panahon sa atin tuwing tag-init dahil sa ridge ng High Pressure Area (HPA) atEasterlies,” it said.

The agency through Panahon TV stated that “ridge” refers “to the extended part of an HPA or an anticyclone.”

“Unlike a low pressure Area, this indicates an area where the atmospheric pressure is higher than its surroundings. Formation of clouds is usually suppressed, thus, less chance of rains,” the program said.

The agency shared that the ridge or extension of the high pressure area usually affects Northern and Central Luzon during the dry season, which results in hot weather conditions.

Easterlies, meanwhile, refer to the warm winds coming from the Pacific Ocean which could bring hot and humid weather that may cause localized thunderstorms, PAGASA added.