TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: After making landfall in Baler, Aurora, in Central Luzon (Region 3) on Sunday, Typhoon Karen headed to Nueva Vizcaya in Cagayan Valley (Region 2), prompting the latter region’s Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to alert residents in low-lying areas of flooding, particularly along swollen rivers in the valley.
Norma Talosig, OCD-Region 2 chief, said they had issued a flood bulletin that warned the residents in the region of rising water levels caused by heavy rains brought by the typhoon.
Water levels at the Magat and Cagayan rivers, according to Talosig, have climbed up because of water discharges from the Magat dam in Ramon, Isabela, threatening to inundate agricultural and residential areas.
She identified as vulnerable to flooding the towns of San Agustin, Jones, Echague, Angadanan, Cauayan City, Gamu, Reina Mercedes, Ilagan City, Tumauini, San Pablo, Delfin Albano, Santa Maria and Cabagan, all in Isabela.
In Cagayan province, Talosig said, flood-prone are Tuguegarao City and the towns of Enrile, Lallo, Baggao, Amulung, Gattaran, Camalaniugan and Aparri, all along the Cagayan River.
According to the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS), water elevation at the Magat dam reservoir rose to 188.60 meters or 4.4 meters short of its critical and spilling level.
Engineer Wilfredo Gloria of NIA-MARIIS said there was a sudden increase of water inflow to the reservoir at 3,515 cubic meters per second (CMS).
He added that the total discharge of water to the Magat River on Sunday was 778 CMS.
“We also have to open three units of Magat dam’s spillway gate with an opening of five meters in order to discharge water at the rate of 817 CMS,” Gloria said.
He added that the large amount of water inflow to the Magat dam reservoir came from the upstream Magat River and its tributaries in Nueva Vizcaya and from the Ibulao River in Ifugao.
The Pantabangan dam in Nueva Ecija remains on a safe level with water elevation of 198.23 meters above sea level or 22.77 meters short of the 221-meter spilling level as of 7 a.m. of Sunday, according to the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System.
Strong winds brought by Typhoon Karen tripped power lines and toppled electric posts and trees along the national road in Nueva Vizcaya.
Talosig of OCD-Region 2 said some roads were made impassable by landslides but all types of vehicles can pass through the national road Daang Maharlika in Cagayan Valley.
According to an OCD-Region 2 report, a landslide forced temporary closure of the Nueva Vizcaya-Benguet Road but the Nueva Vizcaya-Dalton Pass-Nueva Ecija road was passable.
The report said portions of roads in Ambaguio and Kasibu towns in Nueva Vizcaya were also temporarily closed because of landslides.
The San Pedro Overflow Bridge and Manglad Overflow Bridge in Maddela town in Quirino province, the Masaya Sur Overflow Bridge in San Agustin, Isabela and the Baculod Overflow Bridge in Ilagan City, Isabela, were not passable.
A total of 110 families or 373 individuals in Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya, Maddela and Dinapigue and Benito Soliven in Isabela were evacuated before the typhoon made landfall.
At least 10 individuals from the Coast Guard sub-station in Aparri town in Cagayan bound for Calayan Island town were stranded.
In Calabarzon Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) Director Vicente Tomazar, OCD-Calabarzon chief, also on Sunday said passengers and boats were stranded by Typhoon Karen.
A total of 1,571 passengers and a total of 203 boats were stranded in Batangas City, Lucena City and Real and Infanta towns in Quezon.
There was a total of 53 canceled boat trips in Batangas City, Lucena City and Dinalahican town in Quezon.
A total of 278 families (1,201 persons) in seven towns in Quezon and 278 families (1,201 persons) in two towns in Rizal were preemptively evacuated.
Power outages were reported in nine towns in Quezon, one town in Rizal, two towns in Laguna and five towns in Batangas as of 9 p.m. of Saturday.
In the Bicol Region, 3,732 stranded passengers were allowed also on Sunday to sail from the ports of Albay, Masbate, Catanduanes and Camarines Sur, the OCD-Bicol said.
The Philippine Coast Guard gave the green light after local forecasters announced in their 8 a.m. advisory that the region’s weather is back to normal, according to Bernardo Rafael Alejandro, OCD-Bicol director.
Alejandro said majority of the passengers who were allowed to sail were bound for Samar and Leyte in the Visayas.
Since the weather has improved, he added, various Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (PDRRMCs) and Municipal DRRMCs could start decamping the 1,566 families or 7,380 persons who had sought refuge in various evacuation centers in Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Sorsogon.
The OCD-Bicol’s initial report also on Sunday indicated that 12 towns in Bicol were affected by flooding caused by heavy rains brought by the typhoon.
Landslides also hit San Andres and Gigmoto towns in Catanduanes and Irosin town in Sorsogon.
A power blackout has been reported in the entire province of Catanduanes since Saturday while power outages affected 10 towns in Camarines Sur, three towns in Camarines Norte, two towns in Sorsogon and some areas in Albay.
Alejandro said the Catanduanes DRRMC is validating reports of two-typhoon related deaths and three missing fishermen.
Flight operations of commercial aircraft to and from the Bicol Region were also back to normal.
Typhoon Karen spared Bulacan in Region 3 (Central Luzon).
As of Sunday afternoon, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that except for the City of San Jose del Monte, which experienced heavy to intense rainfall, all towns and the two other cities of Bulacan were only pelted by light and moderate rains.
No floods were reported also as of Sunday afternoon, according to Bulacan PDRRMO executive officer Liz Mungcal.
The water levels at three dams in the province remained below their spilling levels.
Angat dam did not reach the 200-meter mark and was still at 197.20 meters as of 6 a.m. of Sunday and way below its spilling level of 210 meters.
The water level at Ipo dam was 100.77 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water level at Bustos dam was 17.48 meters (spilling level 17.70).
Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, however, instructed the PDRRMO to brace for possible back floods that may come from Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.
In neighboring Nueva Ecija, Gov. Cherry Umali ordered suspension of classes at all levels on Monday upon recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.