BAGUIO CITY, February 18, 2004 (STAR) By Artemio Dumlao - Good news for ukay-ukay vendors selling parkas and thermal underwear: the temperature here went down to 9.4 degrees Celsius yesterday and the weather bureau expects it to continue to drop until next month.

A crisp 20 degrees Celsius at midday was as high as the temperature went yesterday, still cold compared to the usual temperature enjoyed by the city considered as the country’s summer capital.

The low temperature, which started last Monday at 12.8 degrees Celsius, has sent residents scurrying to their closets for warmer clothes.

Tourists who flocked to see the Baguio Flower Festival "street dancing and float parades" on Feb. 21 and 22 will have to rely on ukay-ukay vendors to supply them with jackets and thermal clothing.

These types of clothes have been gathering dust at various surplus stores since Baguio has not been this cold during the past years.

Julie, an ukay-ukay vendor along Session Road — one of the city’s main thoroughfares — gave a wide smile when she was told that the low temperatures will prevail up to March.

Joseph Rios of the Philippine Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) local office said the low temperature is aggravated by the northeast wind brought about by a low-pressure area that formed off Surigao last Feb. 14.

Rios said higher elevations in Baguio, such as nearby Mt. Santo Tomas, recorded much lower temperatures.

The temperature at Mt. Pulag — the second highest peak in the country after Mt. Apo in Davao — was estimated at six to seven degrees Celsius. Indigenous tribes in Benguet consider the mountain — located at the border of Cagayan, Ifugao and Benguet — as the haven of their gods.

Rios added that the temperatures in Baguio may continue to slide as summer starts next month.

Last March 13, the temperature plummeted to its lowest for 2003 at 9.8 degrees Celsius.

Pagasa’s records show that the cold front in Baguio occurs every 10 years, usually in March.

In March 1986, Baguio recorded its lowest for the year at 9.1 degrees Celsius; 9.3 degrees Celsius in March 1972 and 7.4 degrees Celsius in March the following year.

Baguio experienced its coldest day on record at 6.3 degrees on Jan. 18, 1961.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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