CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: The floods brought about by heavy rains from tropical storm Kabayan on Friday affected 19 villages in four towns of Nueva Ecija.
The heavy rains was also respite to dam managers as water levels rose to almost critical level, which would help in irrigation activities during the dry spell experienced by several provinces in Luzon.
Based on the report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the villages from the towns of Laur, Cuyapo, Rizal and Bongabon were submerged in floodwaters from one to three feet high.
The RDRRMC also reported a landslide incident that took place in Barangay Ligaya, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, resulting to the evacuation of 30 families.
With the heavy downpour from the watershed areas and upstream parts of the Magat Dam, the dam’s water level rose to above normal.
Engr. Wilfredo Gloria, department manager of National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MRIIS), said the dam’s water level as of 2 p.m. on October 2 was 192.35 meters or 17.35 meters above the normal level of 175 meters.
The dam management said the spilling level of the dam is 193 meters and they base their water releases on the weather forecast, especially when there are expected typhoons.
Gloria said they impounded enough water at the dam’s reservoir since April 2015. They may release water soon if it reaches a very critical level. However, authorities will still have to retain sufficient water supply for the next cropping season to combat the effects of the dry spell felt in the region.
He added that they will have to maintain the safest possible water level by releasing water without inundating the low lying communities along the Magat River in Cagayan Valley.
Meanwhile, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado deployed rescue teams on alert while he monitors flooded areas, particularly in Marilao and Meycauayan City.
Initial reports from Provin-cial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) show that barangays Nagbalon and Ibayo in Marilao were submerged under one foot to two feet of flood waters while the villages of Tugatog and Lawa in Meycauayan City were under one foot to 1.5 feet of flood water.
The PDRRMC also reported that Bustos dam opened two sluice gates and discharged 200 cubic meters per second of water from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Friday.
The water elevation of Angat dam slightly rose from 189.9 meters on Thursday to 190.90 meters at 8 a.m. on Friday, which is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.
The water level at Ipo dam as of 8 a.m. on Friday was 101.16 meters with spilling level 101 meters while the water level at Bustos dam was 17.86 meters with spilling level 17.70 meters.
Classes were suspended in Pampanga, as declared by Gov. Lilia Pineda while the same was announced in nearby provinces including Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Tarlac and Zambales.
In Aurora province, seven fishermen were rescued while seven others are still missing.
Gabriel Llave, chief of the Baler Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said search and rescue operations are ongoing for the missing fishermen.
Also in Aurora, roads were closed due to toppled trees in Barangay Villa in Maria Aurora town that rendered this alternate route to the province impassable to motorists from Nueva Ecija and the rest of Central Luzon, the Department of Public Works and Highways said.
The weather disturbance also halted work on a P134-million new, all-weather bridge in the area.