Why Pangasinan is under signal 1 but still on red alert
MANILA, Philippines – Pangasinan can’t relax just yet.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Sarmiento stressed that Pangasinan is still on red alert even as state weather bureau PAGASA placed the province under signal number 1.
This means that local government units (LGUs) in the province should continue their respective preparedness efforts as flooding continues to threaten the area. The province was earlier placed under Charlie or alert level C about 48 hours before Severe Tropical Storm Lando (Koppu) made landfall. (READ: What mayors should do within 48 hours before Typhoon Lando hits land)
“That will exactly address the problem that we encountered in Pangasinan: downgraded by 1, but still under Charlie – meaning to say, you cannot relax,” Sarmiento told media Tuesday afternoon, October 20.
LGUs covered by the alert are expected to continue implementing enforced evacuation and to maintain deployment of response teams, Sarmiento said. As of 4 pm, Tuesday, other LGUs that were still under red alert included Vigan, Batac, Paoay, and Mountain Province, according to Sarmiento.
Meanwhile, as of 4 pm, Tuesday, PAGASA placed Pangasinan, along with 8 other provinces, under Signal No. 1 as Lando, now downgraded into a tropical storm, slightly weakened.
This earlier confused some residents and local government officials in Pangasinan who were used to starting recovery efforts as soon as the typhoon signal was downgraded to the lowest level.
'Ulan hindi bahagi ng typhoon signal'
The state weather bureau, however, clarified that the Public Storm Warning Signal system is independent of rainfall warnings.
"While wind is evenly distributed based on WMO (World Meteorological Organization) standards, there is no standard for water,” PAGASA acting administrator Dr Vic Malano told Rappler.
"Ang ulan ay hindi bahagi ng typhoon signal natin (Rainfall isn’t part of our typhoon signal),” he stressed.
According to Malano, weather experts study the behavior of rivers based on rainfall within the basin, as well as the slope, width, and depth of rivers.
In the case of Pangasinan, even if it is in the periphery of the storm, the rainfall that gathered upstream in the Agno River Basin breached normal levels.
As of Tuesday, 8 am, after 24 hours, PAGASA’s water-level station in Ampucao in Benguet Province recorded about 440 mm of rainfall – 70% more than the recorded normal rainfall volume in October the previous year.
In its neighboring station in Baguio, the rainfall volume during the same period increased by 176% at 775 mm.
"This indicates that within the neighboring areas in Baguio City, there’s also heavy rainfall like Ambucao,” Malano said.
In it’s flood bulletin Tuesday morning, PAGASA warned of the slow rise of upper and middle Agno River (due to release of water from the San Roque Dam) and tributaries Ambayaoan and Banila Rivers. Towns that will be affected include San Nicolas, San Manuel, Asingan, Tayug, Sta Maria, Balungao, Rosales, Villasis, and Sto Tomas.
The further rise of the lower Agno River (also due to the release of water from the San Roque Dam) and tributary streams is also expected, affecting Alcala, Bautista, Bayamban, San Carlos City, Urbiztondo, Mangatarem, Aguilar, Bugallon, Labrador, and Lingayen. (READ: #FloodPH: Warning for Pangasinan and Tarlac)
On Monday night, October 19, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Alexander Pama reminded towns located downstream of the Agno River to evacuate affected residents due to risks posed by rainfall and the San Roque Dam's release of water early Monday evening. – Rappler.com