Heavy rains set to lash Bangkok as storm looms

PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

Bangkokians can expect more wet weather this week as tropical storm Mujigae is predicted to bring heavy rainfall to many parts of the country.

Officials from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) yesterday installed more water pumps at flood-prone spots after the Meteorological Department predicted heavy rainfall in the North, Northeast, East and South of the country from today until Tuesday.

The capital was hit by a heavy downpour yesterday morning, resulting in severe flooding in Chaeng Wattana, Ratchadaphisek, Ngamwongwan and Phaholyothin.

Nong Chok district recorded the highest cumulative rainfall figure - 56.5 millimetres as of 7.45am yesterday.

Several hours of heavy rain last week left many areas of Bangkok under water.

BMA Deputy Governor Amorn Kitchawengkul attended a meeting yesterday with officials at the BMA Department of Drainage and Sewerage, where he was briefed on the city's rainfall situation and preparedness to implement measures to tackle possible flooding.

Flood-prone areas such as Ratchadaphisek Road have been equipped with water pumps while Bangkokians have been advised to follow rain reports and traffic updates to avoid flooded routes.

Amorn admitted that a contributing factor causing flooding was the fact that some roads had become flood-retention areas.

He said an area suffering up to 60mm of rainfall would need up to three hours to drain. The under-construction Bang Sue drainage tunnel, once completed, would be a great help to tackle Ratchadaphisek's flooding problem, he added.

Meanwhile, Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said Army chief General Theerachai Nakwanich had instructed military units to monitor the flood situation and provide aid to flood-affected residents in Bangkok while maintaining traffic flow at flooded roads such as in Huai Kwang, Lat Phrao, Bang Sue and Klong Toei.

The Thai Meteorological Department said in its fourth statement yesterday on tropical storm Mujigae that it would pass over China's Hainan Island and make landfall in Vietnam today or tomorrow, resulting in heavy rainfall in upper Thailand from today until Tuesday.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department warned residents in 32 provinces in the North, Northeast, East and South to brace for rainfall and possible flooding during this period while instructing officials to set up fast-moving emergency teams with supplies to aid disaster victims.

The 1784 hotline is operational around the clock.

In Chanthaburi's Muang district, a flash flood early yesterday morning hit 20 homes and fruit orchards in Tambon Klong Narai while the Phra Ajarn Jeu check dam in Chaiyaphum's Nong Bua Rawe district burst yesterday.

That resulted in floodwater affecting about 1,000 rai (160 hectares) of farmland in the downstream Khok Sa-art and Nong Bua Rawe sub-districts.

It is the third time this year the check dam has been burst by flash flooding.

In Lop Buri's Muang district, overnight rainfall resulted in flash floods inundating a two-kilometre section of the Lop Buri-Khok Samrong Road in Tambon Khao Phra Ngam yesterday morning.

As a result, Governor Panu Yaemsri instructed officials to drill the road island to help drain water until the affected area shrunk to 500 metres and could be accessed by small vehicles.

Floodwater also affected six villages and some 1,500 families in Khao Phra Ngam Municipality.

The Moo 2 village was worst hit with floodwater rising up to 1.2 metres, resulting in the municipality dispatching boats to deliver relief items to residents.

It is expected the floodwater will be drained today, provided there is no more rain.