By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
However, authorities said the situation in affected areas was under control and the impact of the storm was not severe.
The Meteorological Department reported that the storm in the Gulf of Thailand had made landfall over Prachuap Khiri Khan at 4am yesterday and then weakened into a low-pressure area before travelling west towards the Andaman Sea in the afternoon.
According to automatic precipitation measuring stations in the affected area, Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan district received the most precipitation within 24 hours, as the average rainfall in the district reached 140 millimetres.
Kittikorn Thep-u-amnuay, head of the Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, said the office had designated areas in the province, especially in Bang Saphan and Thap Sakae districts, as at high risk for flash floods, but he added that the situation was not critical.
“We confirm the report that many areas in the province, especially in the lowlands of Bang Saphan district and Thap Sakae district, were inundated by flash floods, because of the massive amount of rain in one night,” Kittikorn said.
“However, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office and local authorities have built defensive walls from sandbags to protect important areas such as hospitals already, while teams of officers were also dispatched to flooded areas to help people.”
He added that Phet Kasem Road, the main highway to the Southern region, had been partly flooded, but floodwater levels were shallow and small cars were still able to use the road.
“Right now, our main concerns are the possibility of more flash floods and navigation on Phet Kasem Road, as we have noticed that strong river currents are starting to damage the foundations of many bridges,” he said.
At least nine schools in Thap Sakae district have reportedly closed, and three critical patients at Bang Saphan Hospital were transferred to Prachuap Khiri Khan Hospital because of the threat of flooding.
Royal Irrigation 14 Office director Kerdchai Thanwattanakul said the Royal Irrigation Department was trying to drain water to the sea as fast as possible by dredging the deltas of local rivers.
Kerdchai also said reservoirs in Prachuap Khiri Khan were in good condition and operating normally, while a small reservoir that was breached earlier this year, causing intensive flooding in Bang Saphan district, was still under repair and not storing water yet.
He added that his office |was closely monitoring weather updates to properly manage flooding.
The Southern railway was also reportedly damaged by a flash flood in Surat Thani, with workers working to repair the railroad and enable train services to resume.
The Meteorological Depart-ment has issued a weather warning that is in effect for Ranong, Phang Nga and Phuket provinces through today, as the provinces will be affected by the low-pressure area over the Andaman Sea.