Hua Hin struck by severe flooding
Southern areas bear brunt of heavy rain
Heavy downpours hit southern parts of the country on Friday, triggering flash floods in the tourist district of Hua Hin and other provinces, while Bangkokians have been warned to brace for another round of soaking on Saturday.
Hua Hin, in Prachuap Khiri Khan, was among the areas where floods were reported yesterday. Other areas to suffer included nearby Chumphon province.
Hua Hin officials and police were out in full force to help affected householders and motorists, following several hours of rain.
Chat Chai market in the municipality area was among the hardest hit, with 20 centimetres of storm water submerging one of its main roads.
The floodwater ran deep enough and fast enough to wash away a barrier along the centre of Phetkasem Road, worsening the traffic flow which had already been forced to a snail's pace.
Workers were kept busy diverting water from inundated areas while others were ordered to build walls of sandbags to protect houses, especially those in Soi Hua Hin 102 and 112 which are in the centre of the district's most flood-prone zone.
"We need to pump water out to sea as fast as we can," Hua Hin mayor Chirawat Phoemphun said yesterday.
Elsewhere in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, health officials started evacuating patients from Bang Saphan Hospital to Prachuap Khiri Khan Hospital as parts of Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi districts also endured serious flooding, reportedly their worst in the last two decades. At least five schools in the vicinity were closed.
The air force yesterday joined in rescue operations, sending officers from its Muang district-based Wing 5 to help affected residents in Bang Saphan.
"No matter the budget, we won't stop making ourselves well-prepared," air force chief Chaiyapruk Ditsayasarin said.
Parts of Chumphon also bore the brunt of torrential rain.
Flooding was reported on Highway 41, a major road, in Sawi district.
Flood levels there measured up to 30-50cm yesterday morning with runoff flowing over several kilometres of the highway in Moo 12 village of tambon Kharon. That caused a severe traffic snarl-up, with the queues stretching back a few kilometres.
In Surat Thai, which is located further south, heavy rain slammed three districts of Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Tha Chana.
There were no reports of flooding, but local officials were told to keep a close watch on the situation and keep in close contact with the Thai Meteorological Department.
Heavy downpours are expected to continue in many areas of the South today, the department said, adding that small trawlers should stay in port to avoid expected treacherous conditions at sea.
The ongoing rainfall is the result of a strong low-pressure system in the South and a northeastern monsoon.
Besides the South, these conditions will also cause thunderstorms in the lower Northeast and Central Plains areas, including Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces.
Widespread rain is anticipated across 60% of the capital today, according to the department.