Dams release ‘Jolina’ rainwater
DAGUPAN CITY — Rain dumped by Tropical Storm “Jolina” (International name: Pakhar) was milder than expected in Cordillera provinces and the rest of Northern Luzon on Saturday.
But a flood alert was raised in Pangasinan province after two dams in the Cordilleras released water from their reservoir.
The Agno River basin flood forecasting and warning center in Rosales town warned residents near mountain slopes and low lying coastal areas to be on alert for possible flash floods, landslides and storm surges.
In an advisory issued at 9 a.m. on Saturday, the center said it recorded 36.3 millimeters of rainfall in the river basin in the last three days.
In Benguet province, Ambuklao and Binga dams began releasing water into the Agno River after heavy rain almost breached their reservoirs’ spilling levels. Each dam opened four spillway gates by half a meter.
At 6 a.m., Ambuklao Dam in Bokod town recorded its water level of 750.48 meters above sea level (masl), which was barely 1.52 meters from its maximum level of 752 masl.
Binga Dam in Itogon town recorded its water level of 573.72 masl, about 1.28 m from its maximum level of 575 masl.
The two dams are located upstream of Agno River, which snakes down the Cordillera mountains before cutting through 16 Pangasinan towns and cities on its way to Lingayen Gulf.
As cascading dams, the water released by Ambuklao flows to Binga, while the water spilled from Binga is caught by San Roque Dam downstream of Agno River in San Manuel town.
The water level at San Roque Dam was 243.13 masl, which was way below its maximum level of 290 masl.
The Office of Civil Defense said likely to be affected by the dam discharges were the rivers and tributaries of lower Abra, Silay-Sta. Maria and Buaya in Ilocos Sur province; the Amburayan, Bararo, Lower Bauang and Aringay rivers in La Union province; the Balingcaguin and Alaminos rivers in Pangasinan; and the Bulu, Banban, Bacarra-Vintar, Laoag and Quiaoit rivers in Ilocos Norte province.
In Sta. Barbara town in Pangasinan, the local government discouraged swimming in the swollen Sinocalan River.
Jolina was not too strong when it made landfall in Aurora province, Gov. Gerardo Noveras said. He said there was no storm-related incident reported in his province, so far.
In Baguio City, Kennon Road was reopened to traffic on Saturday after the scenic and shortest route to the city was closed as a precaution on Friday night.
But landslides shut down the Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun Road in Benguet and the Banaue-Mayoyao-Alfonso Lista-Isabela Road and the Tabuk-Banaue Road in Ifugao province on Saturday.
In Isabela province, no injuries or storm damages were reported when Jolina raced through the province.
Instead, Jolina brought much needed water for farm lands. Loreto Bayucan, a farmer, said the rain drenched his parched corn farm, giving him a better chance for a better yield.
Only 23 families in Maconacon town in Isabela relocated as a precaution on Friday, said Jessie James Geronimo, the provincial information officer. The families returned home on Saturday.
The water level of Magat Dam in Ramon town was measured at 189.70 masl, way below its 193 masl spilling level. However, continuous rain increased water inflow to the dam at 2,027 cubic meters a second, prompting its operator to open a spillway gate. —Reports from Gabriel Cardinoza, Yolanda Sotelo, Villamor Visaya, and Kimberlie Quitasol
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