Heavy rains brought severe flooding yesterday to central Chiang Mai where locals were warned to move their belongings to higher ground as water levels rose.
Water levels of the Ping River persistently rose through the day, making districts along the river inundated while soldiers assisted flood-affected locals.
Charin Kongsricharoen, director of the Irrigation Department of Chiang Mai, said that the level of the Ping River at Nawarat Bridge was 4.52 metres, which was 0.95 metres above its safe level (as of 5pm).
The water level of the Ping River at Ban Mae Tae in San Sai district was 3.83 metres, 0.03 above its safe level, with a flow of 497 cubic metres per second.
The flooding was approaching a situation similar to the severe flooding of 2011 when the level of the Ping River neared 5 metres.
Local officials are expecting a similar situation because water from tributaries upstream is continuing to flow into the Ping River.
The water was up to a metre deep in some areas of Muang district and residents were evacuated. Several schools and government offices were closed yesterday due to flooding.
The flooding was mostly experienced on Chang Khlan and Charoen Prathet roads, but also in Pa Phrao Nok and Nong Hoi areas.
Elsewhere in the province, steady rain continued in Chiang Dao, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim, Mae Ai, Fang, San Sai and Doi Saket districts -- all upstream of Muang district, Mr Charin said.
He also added that the Chiang Mai Irrigation Department had opened floodgates in the city to drain the rainwater.
The Irrigation Department has contacted the 33rd Military Circle, 41st Aviation Battalion and the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to assist flood-affected locals and to monitor rising water levels, he added.
Chiang Mai Municipality posted on its Facebook page yesterday that the heavy rains in the northern part of Chiang Mai might overflow the province. It suggested locals turn off main breakers and prepare for evacuation.
The municipality has set up a centre for flood victims which provides a hotline available 24 hours, 053-140380. Also, any ill people who cannot get out of flooded areas and need emergency help can contact 053-259199, according to its Facebook post.