Friday’s flooding in Agusan del Sur: rainfall in 10 hours from 129 mm to 490 mm

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 19 December) —  Ten hours of heavy rains brought about by Tropical Depression ‘Vicky’ caused massive flooding in the entire province of Agusan del Sur on Friday, the worst since 2014.

Elmer Luzon, general manager of San Francisco Water District (SFWD) said their rain gauge recorded 490 millimeters as of 4 p.m. or an average of 49 mm per hour, from 129 mm as of 6 a.m.

The 490-mm rainfall on Friday constitutes 12.6 per cent of the 3,900 millimeter annual rainfall in Northeastern Mindanao.

The rotunda of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur had never experienced flooding until Friday, December 18, 2020 Photo by RICHARD GRANDE

Luzon said the rainfall data they gathered from their rain gauge  is almost the same as the state weather bureau PAGASA.

He noted the rainfall from 6 a.m. of December 16 to 6 a.m. of December 17 or a span of 24 hours, was only 18.5 millimeters but rose to 129 millimeters as of 6 a.m. on December 17.

The incessant heavy rains caused massive flooding in this town with municipal roads at the town center already knee-deep to waist-deep as early as Friday noon.

The flooding in neighboring Rosario town, where small-scale mining operations thrive in the interior upland communities, was even worst, sending rescuers to assist residents whose houses were submerged in floodwaters up to the rooftop in the town center.

Vehicles move through a flooded Maharlika highway in Rosario town in Agusan del Sur on Friday, December 18, 2020. Heavy rains brought about by tropical depression ‘Vicky’ riggered the flash floods. Photo courtesy of NAPOLEON MALLARI

Portions of the national highway between the two towns were impassable even by big trucks and passenger buses until the water started to subside by 3 p.m. on Friday.

Hundreds of residents living in the low-lying areas in Trento, Bunawan, Esperanza and in this town were rescued and brought to evacuation centers.

Luzon said the rainfall data during the flash floods in 2014 is almost the same but the fast pace of urban development since then caused the drainage systems to clog up, causing much worse  flooding at the town center.

The 490-millimeter rainfall on Friday constitutes 12.6 per cent of the 3,900 annual rainfall in Northeastern Mindanao. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)