CHIANGRAI TIMES – Songkhla, Yala and Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South have been heavily inundated by flash flooding after days of heavy rain, while the cold is hitting the North and the Northeast.
Disaster status – signified by red flags – has been announced in Hat Yai, the business area of Songkhla.
Car owners have begun to park their cars on elevated roads or high ground – similar to the practice seen in central provinces and Bangkok during the flood peak between mid-October to early November.
Provincial Governor Krissada Bunraj decided to raise the alert to red yesterday evening, a few hours after it had been raised to yellow from normal green, after the first of two days of heavy rain.
The areas at greatest risk in Hat Yai are Janviroj and Jankasem, communities which are located near flood-prone canals.
The yellow flag, which denotes readiness for evacuation in 24 hours, was in force yesterday afternoon, when Hat Yai Mayor Phrai Phatthana said it was meant largely for those living in low-lying areas.
The red means emergency evacuation could be announced immediately.
Elsewhere in Songkhla, two key roads leading to a border crossing in Sadao district with Malaysia have been impassable due to inundation.
Relief assistance has been provided in eight flooded districts. Songkhla has a total of 16 districts.
The seven other districts are Sadao, Chana, Muang, Na Thawee, Na Mom, Saba Yoi and Khlong Hoi Khong.
A major hospital in Na Thawee district was flooded, prompting relocation of a small number of patients to its second floor, while military trucks have been put on standby for evacuation if floodwater rises.
Around 150 families in Sadao were evacuated to a temple in tambon Tha Pho and 100 workers of a company briefly to a school, and later returned to their residences.
District chief Jamlong Kraidit said a small number of seriously ill patients at Sadao Hospital had been airlifted to better-equipped Hat Yai Hospital, after floodwater inundated a major road and was too high for its ambulance.
Shelters have been set up in four of the eight districts in Yala, after they were inundated to the level of one metre, following heavy downpours on Friday and Saturday. Yala municipality, especially 10 communities and three key sois, along with Raman and Muang districts, are under high-level floodwater.
Provincial Governor Dejrat Simsiri, citing a weather forecast, said after a possible cyclone expected last night, the situation should ease and return to normal by Wednesday if there was no more heavy rain.
Most flood victims in tambon Patae are in need of flat-bed boats for transport of their belongings, after three roads were flooded.
Fishing trawlers are docking at or returning to Nakhon Si Thammarat’s coast following high seas due to a cyclone, especially in Talum Phuk peninsula in Pak Phanang district, which is most exposed to tidal waves and gusts of wind.
Mudslide warnings have been issued to homes located near a Luang mountain range section where they regularly occur.
The lowest temperature in the next 24 hours is forecast in mountainous areas in the Northeast, at 7-13 degrees Celsius.
The temperature could drop to 16-20C in residential areas and elsewhere.
A similar forecast has been announced in parts of the North, but conditions should be a bit warmer in residential areas there at 18-22C degrees.
A weather report forecasts heavy rain from a monsoon travelling from the Far East and a depression from Malaysia in three provinces – Phatthalung, Pattani and Narathiwat – where floodwaters have not yet been high or widespread.
Residents of low-lying areas have been called to brace for flash flooding and mudslides in areas near the base of hills.