FLOODED. A school in Sta. Fe, Leyte submerged in flood water in this Jan. 4, 2023 photo. Several local government units in Eastern Visayas have extended the suspension of work and classes on Wednesday as weather disturbance continues to dump heavy rains in the region. (Photo courtesy of Evelyn Moron)

TACLOBAN CITY – Several local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas (Region 8) have extended the suspension of work and classes on Wednesday as weather disturbance continues to dump heavy rains in the region.

The town of Palo in Leyte is the first to issue an executive order suspending the work in government offices and classes in both public and private schools.

“This is due to heavy rains and flooding in certain areas in the municipality,” Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla said.

The town situated 12 kilometers south of Tacloban is the location of several regional and provincial offices of national government agencies.

Similar executive orders have been issued by the mayors of Matag-ob, Tanauan, Abuyog, Tabontabon, Alangalang, Tunga, San Miguel, Jaro, Pastrana, Tunga, Babatngon, Barugo, Capoocan, and Tolosa in Leyte; Basey, Paranas and Sta. Rita in Samar; Balangiga and Giporlos in Eastern Samar.

The low pressure area and northeast monsoon may trigger flooding in major rivers in the Eastern Visayas region, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

PAGASA Tacloban station chief Mario Peñaranda said in a phone interview red rainfall warning has been raised in Southern Leyte province while the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Samar and Eastern Samar are under orange rainfall warning.

A red rainfall advisory is issued when observed rainfall is more than 30 mm (millimeter) within one hour or if rainfall has continued for the past three hours and is more than 65 mm, Peñaranda said.

The orange rainfall advisory is raised in areas where rainfall is between 15 mm and 30 mm within one hour.

“When we raise a red warning, communities should be prepared to respond. It means serious flooding is seen and that residents should be ready to evacuate to safety. Flooding is a definite threat in communities under the orange alert,” Peñaranda added.

Even without directives from LGUs, several areas in Leyte and Samar provinces have no classes since they are placed under an orange rainfall warning.

Under Department Order No. 37 issued on Sept. 1, 2022 classes are automatically canceled in schools in areas with orange and red rainfall warnings.

Meanwhile, in its advisory early Wednesday, PAGASA identified several rivers in six provinces that would likely be affected by the downpour -- Sangputan, Palo, Solano, Daguitan, Marabong, Cadacan, Bongquirogon, Salug, Pagbanagaran, Pagsangahan and Binahaan in Leyte; and Catarman, Bugko, Pambujan, Catubig, Palapag, Mano and Gamay in Northern Samar.

Other rivers include Oras, Dolores, Ulot, Taft, Borongan, Suribao, Llorente, Balangiga and Sulat in Eastern Samar; Basey, Silaga, Calbiga and Jibatan in Samar; Bisay, Himbangan and Pandan in Southern Leyte; and all river systems in Biliran province.

The heavy rain in the region is dumped by the low pressure area seen 195 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan the northeast monsoon affecting Luzon. (PNA)