FLASH floods kill 2 in provinces

FAST-RIS­ING WA­TERS IN PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN AND CHUMPHON FORCE EVAC­U­A­TION OF CRIT­I­CAL PA­TIENTS; BRINGS SOUTH­BOUND TRAF­FIC TO HALT

The Nation - - CLOSE-UP - PRATCH RUJIVANAROM

A FLASH FLOOD in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon provinces on Fri­day killed two peo­ple and stopped much of the traf­fic be­tween the South­ern re­gion and the rest of the coun­try, as the heav­i­est rain in re­cent years lashed the south­east­ern coast since Thurs­day night.

Heavy down­pours of over 200 mil­lime­tres within a sin­gle night trig­gered se­ri­ous flash floods on Fri­day in Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi dis­tricts in Prachuap Khiri Khan and some parts of Chumphon, and forced the evac­u­a­tion of many peo­ple to higher ground amid fears of con­tin­u­ing flood­ing and bro­ken reser­voirs.

Two peo­ple had died as of press time on Fri­day, The Na­tion Week­end learned. An 85-year-old ci­ti­zen from Chumphon, Phob Phatchana, drowned in waves from the fast-ris­ing flash flood, as did a twoyear-old boy from Bang Saphan district.

Prachuap Khiri Khan pro­vin­cial gover­nor Pan­lop Sing­hase­nee said heavy rain since Thurs­day night in­un­dated the low-ly­ing ar­eas of Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi dis­tricts with high and fast-ris­ing wa­ter.

With more rain to come, the gover­nor asked peo­ple in flood-risk ar­eas to evac­u­ate to high ground or to the of­fi­cial evac­u­a­tion cen­tre at Bang Saphan Wit­taya School.

“Due to the ge­og­ra­phy of our prov­ince, which has the high Te­nasserim moun­tain range to the west and the Gulf of Thai­land to the east, we are liv­ing in a risky area for flash floods, es­pe­cially when we re­ceive such in­ten­sive rain in a very short pe­riod of time,” Pan­lop said.

The Royal Ir­ri­gation De­part­ment sent trac­tors and equip­ment to widen the delta of Bang Saphan River in or­der to help drain more of the flood­wa­ters out to sea, while many reser­voirs in the district were be­ing closely mon­i­tored af­ter the sud­den in­flows of wa­ter from the moun­tains quickly filled small reser­voirs.

With flood­wa­ter lev­els in Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi dis­tricts con­tin­u­ing to rise, ve­hi­cles on Phetkasem Road, which is the main high­way to the south, should be driven care­fully and lis­ten for up­dates from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, warned the gover­nor. Some parts of the road are flooded and im­pass­able.

High­way in­un­dated

Ac­cord­ing to lat­est up­date as of Fri­day night, Phetkasem Road at Bang Saphan district was closed to all traf­fic, with the road in­un­dated un­der 70 cen­time­tres of wa­ter, while an­other sec­tion of Phetkasem Road at Pathom Phon In­ter­sec­tion in Muang Chumphon district was also closed due to 40cm-high flood­wa­ters.

Bang Saphan Hos­pi­tal was flooded and of­fi­cials trans­ferred 10 crit­i­cally ill pa­tients to Hua Hin Hos­pi­tal and Prachuap Khiri Khan Hos­pi­tal for safety, while at least five schools in the district were also closed.

Ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Hy­droin­for­mat­ics and Cli­mate, Bang Saphan Noi district re­ceived 237.2 mil­lime­tres of rain­fall on Thurs­day, over the 24 hours, while the three-day ac­cu­mu­lated pre­cip­i­ta­tion level for the district spiked as high as 365.8 mil­lime­tres.

The pre­cip­i­ta­tion record shows the amount of rain dur­ing this flood was higher than in the past two flood events in De­cem­ber 2016 and Jan­uary 2017. For those floods, the three-day ac­cu­mu­lated pre­cip­i­ta­tion level was at 187.6 mil­lime­tres and 290.4 mil­lime­tres re­spec­tively.

Above: A bird’s-eye view of a traf­fic slow­down on the heav­ily-flooded sec­tion of the Bangkok-bound Phetkasem Road in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Cha-am district.

Left: Sol­diers trans­fer pa­tients out of the in­un­dated Bang Saphan Hos­pi­tal on Fri­day.

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