TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Cagayan Valley said roads to and from Apayao province and the Ilocos Region were closed because of landslides and floods as a result of continuous heavy downpour in the region.
Wilson Valdez, DPWH-Cagayan Valley (Region 2) public information officer, on Monday said there was a landslide along the Cagayan-Apayao road on both lanes particularly at Illuru section in Rizal town, this province, stopping motorists to and from Apayao.
He added that there is an ongoing clearing operation to let motorists pass through at least one lane going in and out of the province.
Also, the road on both lanes going to and from the Ilocos Region has been closed also because of a landslide along Barangay San Juan in Santa Praxedes town near the Cagayan and Ilocos Norte boundary.
DPWH District Maintenance Engineer Jess Bassig identified another road that was submerged along Barangay Kilkiling in Claveria town, making it not passable to light vehicles.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has warned of severe flooding, urging residents in low-lying areas in Isabela and Cagayan provinces to move to higher ground and avoid crossing rivers especially those who are using improvised boats that lack safety features and gears.
The National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS) said as of 2 p.m. on Monday, the Magat reservoir level was at 192.30 meters, less than a meter shy of its maximum or spilling level of 193 meters.
Engineer Wilfredo Gloria, NIA-MARIIS department manager, said the water inflow of 432 cubic meters per second (CMS) is equivalent to the outflow of water.
NIA-MARIIS officials said they have to open one unit of spillway gate at an opening of one meter to discharge at least 196 CMS more to safeguard the reservoir’s level so it does not reach its critical and spilling level.
Gloria said this has lowered the level of water at the reservoir from 192.38 recorded at 5 a.m. on Monday with a rule curve elevation of 191.80 meters or .20 meters to reach its spilling level.
Officials, however, said discharge of water may be increased as water inflow increases from upstream Magat River in Nueva Vizcaya and the Ibulao River in Ifugao because of continuous downpour.
If the heavy downpour would continue in the next few hours, according to them, they would be discharging a greater volume of water up to not less than 1,000 CMS.
Constructed in 1976-1982, the P6-billion rock-filled Magat dam in Ramon town has a height of 114 kilometers
and a crest length of 4.16 kilometers with a water surface area of 45 square kilometers. It has a storage capacity level at full supply level of 1.25 billion cubic meters and a discharge capacity at 30,600 CMS.
With its hydro-electric plant, the Magat dam generates 360 megawatts of electricity on a water outflow of 120 CMS at a minimum reservoir level of 160 meters. It also supplies irrigation water for approximately 85,000 hectares of farmland in Isabela and Quirino.
The OCD has identified flood-prone towns in Isabela namely San Agustin, Jones, Echague, Angadanan, Cauayan City, Gamu, Reina Mercedes, Ilagan City, Tumauini, San Pablo, Delfn Albano, Santa Maria and Cabagan.
In Cagayan province, the OCD said, flood-prone areas are Tuguegarao City and the towns of Enrile, Lallo, Baggao, Amulung, Gattaran, Lasam, Camalaniugan and Aparri, all along Cagayan River.
Meanwhile, Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba has ordered a province-wide suspension of classes on Monday from preparatory school to senior high school in both public and private schools because of imminent danger of flooding from the continuous heavy downpour.
Rogelio Sending, Cagayan public information officer, said the suspension of classes is effective until further notice from the governor’s office.