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Looming Storms May Cause Repeat of Last Year’s Floods



National Disaster Warning Centre chairman Smith Dharmasaroja


Chiangrai Times – PM calls urgent key ministers’ meeting to discuss flood-prevention preparations; PM reportedly upset with failure to meet targeted goals in some areas despite budget allocation

Thailand should keep a close eye on upcoming storms in the next two to three months to assess the possibility of a repeat of last year’s floods, a weather expert said.

Flood prevention work in Ayutthaya province was on track to prevent any repeat of last year’s disaster, according to the Water Resources Department

National Disaster Warning Centre chairman Smith Dharmasaroja said yesterday that flooding could occur this year depending on whether storm predictions hold true.

If storms hit the North and the Central Plains region and the volume of excess water that needs to be discharged from dams becomes unmanageable, significant flooding could result, Mr Smith said. He was speaking at a natural-disaster preparation workshop organised by the Office of the Basic Education Commission.

However, he said current rainfall levels are normal and excess water has already been pushed out from retention areas.

In contrast, if there is minimal rainfall between August and October, a drought could occur which would greatly affect the agricultural sector in the North and Northeast, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said Bangkok and nearby provinces are at risk of being flooded in the next eight to nine years due to the rising sea level.

He supported the planned 90km seawall from Phetchaburi’s Cha-am district to Chachoengsao’s Bang Pakong district to protect the Tha Chin, Chao Phraya and Bang Pakong estuaries from rising sea levels.

The Meteorological Department yesterday said tropical storm Doksuri had weakened to a depression.

However, the strong southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand has still resulted in scattered and heavy rains in some areas.

The Andaman and the Gulf of Thailand still have waves of two to three metres high, so all ships should proceed with caution until July 2, the department said.

The Meteorological Department on Tuesday morning issued a warning for people in the North and Northeast to prepare for widespread scattered rain with heavy falls in some areas and the danger of floods today and tomorrow.

The department said strong monsoon trough is now prevailing over the North and Northeast. This will cause widespread scattered rain on the two regions.

People living near hillsides and waterways in Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Phrae, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani should prepare for heavy rain and flash flooding, it warned.

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