By NITZ ARANCON
TROPICAL storm Vinta dumped much of its rainwater on Bukidnon as it traversed northern Mindanao, a weather specialist at the El Salvador station of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said over the weekend.
The concentration of the cumulonimbus clouds over Bukidnon was the reason why the waters of the Cagayan River, Bigaan River, Umalag River and Iponan River shot up to critical levels on Friday, said weather specialist Luz Mercado.
Basically, the city became a catchment basin for the volume of rainwater from Bukidnon that flowed through the city through the rivers.
Teodoro Sabuga-a, head of city hall’s City Social Welfare and Development office, said 25 barangays, all near rivers, were adversely affected as rivers swelled while storm Vinta passed over the city.
Sabugaa said some 5,612 families or about 21,567 people had to flee their homes to 31 evacuation centers throughout the city when the rivers started to overflow.
Mercado said the urban flooding experienced by the city on Friday paled in comparison to previous storms.
“Kon ang concentration sa formation sa cumulonimbus clouds dinhi pa sa Cagayan de Oro, dili mosaka sa critical level ang tubig sa mga suba pero urban flooding sab ang mahitabo,” she explained.
Mercado cited the Jan. 16 flooding at the Limketkai area. That day, she said, the cumulonimbus clouds hovered over the city and not in Bukidnon — while the rivers did not overflow, there were urban floodings throughout the city.
She said the opposite happened on Friday because there was much rain in Bukidnon but not much in the city.
“Ma-o tong misaka sa critical level ang tubig sa atong mga suba kay ang Cagayan de Oro, mora man gud ug nahimo ning catch basin sa tanang tubig ulan gikan sa Bukidnon,” Mercado said.
She said it was time for families living near rivers to relocate. The rivers, she said, serve as the “highways of water” from Bukidnon.
“Panahon nga magbaha, ma-igo gyud ka kay pangita-on man gyud sa tubig ang iyang dalan,” Mercado said.
Barangay Macasandig was among the hardest hit barangays.
Suprema Bacarro, 61, of Tambo, Macasandig, said it was the third time for her home to be damaged by floodwaters. The first was when storm “Sendong” struck in 2011, and it was followed by storm “Pablo”.
“Kining nahitabo nga baha karon pareho ra gyud niadtong ‘Sendong’ ug ‘Pablo’. Washed out gyud tanan among mga butang,” Bacarro said. “Nahadlok ko, nagkurog ko, grabing paita sa among kahimtang.”
But Adelina Salvador, 58, said she was thankful because no one died as a result of the storm on Friday. “Mas maayo na lang ning baha ni Vinta kay walay namatay dinhi sa among lugar.”
Vulcanizing shop owned Eddie Condeza, 60, said his family practically lost everything because of the flood.
“Midagan kami nga tapot lawas ra among dala kay kalit man midako ang tubig. Wala mi makatiwas ug panghipos,” Condeza said.