BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) has warned residents of the rising water caused by continuous downpour brought by Tropical Storm “Jolina” (Pakhar).
Dante Balao, OCD Region 2 director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDDRRMC) chairman, said Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela started releasing water as a precautionary measure to avert possible severe flooding along low lying areas.
On Friday, tropical cyclone warning signal (TCWS) no. 2 was raised over the provinces of Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya and TCWS no. 1 in Cagayan province including the Babuyan group of Islands.
According to the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS), water elevation at the Magat dam reservoir rose to 188.75 meters or 4.20 meters short of its critical and spilling level of 193 meters.
Wilfredo Gloria of NIA-MARIIS said there was a sudden increase of water inflow to the reservoir at 2,033 cubic meters per second (CMS) with water outflow of 598 CMS as of 6 a.m on Saturday.
He added that the dam necessitated an increase in spillway gate opening from one meter to two meters at 10:30 a.m. with a discharge of 398 CMS.
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.
Water levels at Magat and Cagayan rivers, according to the OCD have gone up because of water discharges from the Magat dam, threatening to inundate agricultural and residential areas.
“We have also alerted not only residents living in low-lying areas but also those in the mountainous areas of possible flashfloods and landslides,” Balao said.
He named several towns of Isabela as vulnerable to flooding; these include San Agustin, Jones, Echague, Angadanan, Cauayan City, Gamu, Reina Mercedes, Ilagan City, Tumauini, San Pablo, Delfin Albano, Santa Maria and Cabagan.
In Cagayan province, flood-prone are Tuguegarao City and the towns of Enrile, Lallo, Baggao, Amulung, Gattaran, Camalaniugan and Aparri, along the Cagayan River.
Meanwhile, the OCD-Region 2 said at least 480 families or 1,815 individuals in Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya provinces were affected by the onslaught of ‘Jolina.’
Balao said that as of Saturday, about 153 families or 547 individuals were in several of the 11 evacuation centers that were opened on Friday evening.