A young girl combs her hair after a dip in Manila Bay on Friday. Manila residents tried to find comfort in various ways as temperature soared to 35.9 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest day on record in the metropolis so far this year, according to weather bureau PAGASA. (MNS photo)

A young girl combs her hair after a dip in Manila Bay on Friday. Manila residents tried to find comfort in various ways as temperature soared to 35.9 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest day on record in the metropolis so far this year, according to weather bureau PAGASA. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The ongoing El Niño has gained strength and is now considered a “strong” El Niño phenomenon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tuesday.

There is a 90 percent chance that the El Niño will last until the early part of 2016—March, April, or May—and a 70 percent chance that it will last until around June or July.

PAGASA also predicted that the country will experience lower than normal rainfall conditions from September 2015 to February 2016, with some areas experiencing 40 percent of normal levels. By February 2016, 65 of the Philippines’ 81 provinces are expected to experience drought.

Air temperature is expected to be warmer than average, though cold surges are expected from November to December. PAGASA expects 5-8 tropical cyclones to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) between September 2015 and February 2016.

Present at the PAGASA press briefing were the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Dr. Sevillo D. David, Jr. and representatives from NIA, the Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical Services Administration (PAGASA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), and the two MWSS concessionaires Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MNS)