Authorities say the flood crisis is easing and are hopeful that a new typhoon will weaken before it hits already-inundated parts of Thailand.The Office of National Water and Flood Management Policy and the Meteorological Department are keeping an eye on the movement of Typhoon Nari which hammered the Philippines yesterday and is expected to move inland from Vietnam this week.
Nari is expected to hit Vietnam on Tuesday and Wednesday before weakening to a tropical storm and depression, causing light to moderate rainfall in Thailand, the department said yesterday.
The current projection by the weather agency is that it will enter Thailand over the northeastern region.
Supoj Tovichakchaikul, secretary-general of the water management agency, said he hoped Nari would move toward the North and help fill the Bhumibol Dam in Tak, which is currently at only 47% capacity.
But if the typhoon approaches the East and Central Plains regions, it will worsen flooding and force the Pasak Jolasid Dam in Lop Buri to release more water. This would affect at-risk areas downstream of the Pasak and Chao Phraya rivers.
Water at Pasak Jolasid is already at 112% of operating capacity and additional rainfall would compel staff to discharge more water, the official said.
Mr Supoj dismissed conjecture of a repeat of the flood that hit central provinces and Bangkok two years ago.
Pasak Jolasid can hold 960 million cubic metres of water at normal maximum operating capacity but was holding 1.076 million cu/m, according to a Royal Irrigation Department statement on Wednesday.
Mr Supoj's remarks indicated that the water volume in the reservoir was now even higher.
"[Nari] will bring more water but it must go to the North and Northeast. Don't come to the East," he said on a nationally televised programme.
Floods have hit 42 provinces since Sept 17, of which 28 remain inundated. Three _ Sa Kaeo, Prachin Buri and Chachoengsao _ are listed as serious, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said.
The floods are affecting 3.5 million people. (Story continues after graphic)
Mr Supoj said the three provinces should return to normal at the end of this month.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said flood conditions in the Chao Phraya River basin are improving.
Speaking on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's weekly programme on NBT, Mr Plodprasop said water levels in the Chao Phraya from Nakhon Sawan down to the central plains were receding.
However, people living in low-lying areas and outside flood prevention walls in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani could be affected by high sea tides over the next few days, said Mr Plodprasop, who is the chairman of the Water and Flood Management Commission.
He said there would be no great flood in Bangkok similar to that of 2011.
Department director-general Chartchai Promlert promised financial compensation of 33,000 baht per household for all those affected by the floods.
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