Isabela towns warned vs. flooding as Magat Dam releases water

Isabela towns warned vs. flooding as Magat Dam releases water

MANILA – Downstream communities near the Magat Dam in Isabela are cautioned against flooding as it is likely to continue releasing water as severe Tropical Storm Siony is expected to dump more rains over Northern Luzon.

The water released from the dam flows into Magat River and may cause this waterway to overflow and may cause flooding in some communities, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Aileen Abelardo said in an interview on Thursday.

“People living along and near Magat River must prepare for that possibility as we expect rain from ‘Siony’ to raise the dam’s water which is already at a high level,” she said.

She noted that Magat Dam has been spilling water in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rolly since rain from the tropical cyclone raised its water level.

The spilling operation aims to prevent Magat Dan’s water from rising to a level that might affect the structural integrity of the dam, she continued.

On Thursday, PAGASA warned that the water release from the dam may affect the municipalities of Ramon, San Mateo, Aurora, Cabatuan, Luna, Reina Mercedes, Burgos, Naguilian, and Gamu.

“Those municipalities remain at risk for flooding as ‘Siony’ looms,” Abelardo said.

“Siony” is likely to further strengthen into a typhoon. It is likely to make landfall or pass near the vicinity of Batanes or the Babuyan Islands on Friday.

PAGASA weather forecaster Lorie dela Cruz said the outer rainbands of the tropical cyclone are expected to dump rains over Isabela.

“Heavy rainfall is possible there that entire day,” she said.

PAGASA reported Magat Dam’s 6 a.m. water level on Thursday at 188.96 meters or 0.44 meter higher than what it was 24 hours earlier.

This difference in water level is also more than the 0.14 meter-high rise in the 6 a.m. Magat water level on Nov. 4, hence, the continued release of water from the dam.

Abelardo said Magat Dam’s spilling operation is still in progress as of 6 a.m. Thursday.

“Magat watershed received rainfall from isolated thunderstorms and this contributed to a higher rise in the dam’s water on Thursday,” she said.

She also said remaining runoff from “Rolly” rains continued flowing into the dam. Catherine Teves / PNA –