A bus bound for Bangkok from Phuket runs through flooded Asian Highway route 41 near Pathomporn intersection of Chumphon’s Muang district yesterday. A 1km section of the road has been flooded to heights between 20cm and 80cm, making it impassable to small vehicles.
The storms, which began on Sunday night and subsided yesterday morning, flooded roads and homes, badly affecting thousands of people living in the three provinces.
In Chumphon, at least 500 families in two villages of tambon Banna in Muang district and a village in Hin Kaew of Tha Sae district were hit by flash floods with water levels reaching up to 2m in some areas.
Many roads were closed or impassable yesterday due to high water levels. A 1km stretch of the Asian Highway route 41 near Pathomporn intersection in Muang district was under about 20-80cm of water, making it impossible for small vehicles to pass.
Somchai Im-yu, director of the Hydrology and Water Management Centre for the Irrigation Department's Southern Region, said prolonged rain since Sunday night had triggered flash floods in several areas of the province.
Mr Somchai said the Chumphon canal had burst its banks and had flooded several low-lying areas.
Ranong's Kra Buri district was declared the hardest-hit area.
Some areas in Nam Jued municipality in Kra Buri district are under 50cm-1m of flood water. Hundreds of families in the municipality have also been hit.
A 500m-long stretch of the Petchkasem Highway linking Ranong with Chumphon near Kra Buri market was closed to all traffic yesterday.
Ranong governor Peerasak Hinmuangkao said he had told emergency services to evacuate people stranded in flood-prone homes in Kra Buri.
He has also ordered the urgent evacuation of people in flood-prone areas in Kapoe, Kra Buri and La-un districts.
In Mae Hong Son, heavy rains on Monday night triggered landslides, blocking access to Pakalo village in tambon Pang Moo of Muang district.
It took local authorities several hours yesterday to clear a path to the village.
Mae Hong Son governor Naruemol Palawat said she has warned people in Pai, Pang Ma Pha and Muang districts to expect further landslides and water run-off during the rainy season.
The Meteorological Department yesterday warned people in the North and East and in western parts of the South to prepare for heavy rain and possible flooding today and over the next few days.
The department said a low pressure front is now covering the North. The southwest monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea will probably cause heavy downpours in these areas.
People living near hillsides and waterways in Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phetchabun, Chanthaburi, Trat, Chumphon, Ranong and Phangnga should prepare for heavy rain and flash floods, the department said.
Choppy seas are expected in upper parts of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. All shipping should proceed with caution and small boats should stay in port today and the next few days, the department warned.
The cabinet yesterday earmarked 3.8 billion baht to build flood walls around six industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani which were badly hit in last year's flood crisis.
The work will be overseen by the Water Resources Management and Flood Control Committee chaired by Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi.
Construction of the walls will take about two months, he said.
Many southern provinces have been hit by flash floods, triggered by heavy rain with one death reported in a storm-related road accident in Krabi province.
Flooding in Ranong has extended to five districts with no sign of abating while more flash floods and rains continue, Thai News Agency online reported.
The governor met Wednesday morning with agencies concerned to assess the situation and provide help to local residents.
In Krabi, storms hit several areas, damaging scores of houses and crops in the provincial seat.
One death was reported as a motorcycle crashed into a felled tree on a road.
A thousand small fishing boats in Satun have stayed ashore for a week due to strong winds and 2-3 metre waves in the Gulf of Thailand. Some seaside houses were damaged by waves smashing on to the shore.
In Chumphon, Phinit Charoenpanit, governor reported the flood situation has extended to five districts and warned fishermen to beware of rough sea until the end of this week as rainfall continues.
The online agency said a 200-metre portion of Asian Highway 41 in Sawi district is under 30-50cm water and is impassable for small vehicles.
In Ranong, flash flooding hit almost all areas of Kra Buri district on Tuesday. A large number of people are stranded in their homes and officials used flat-bottomed boats to evacuate them to safe areas. Some houses were damaged by the flood.
A portion of Phetkasem Road, connecting Chumphon and Ranong, was flooded and impassable for small vehicles; some topsoil running down a mountainside blocked sections of the road.
Incessant rain triggered flash floods on Kra Buri mountain range, flowing into Chumphon canal, flooding houses, farmlands, roads in the provincial seat.
Tha Sae district was hit by a flash flood from the Tanaosri mountain range. Rescue workers helped evacuate local residents and move their belongings to higher ground.
The meteorological department on Wednesday reported a strong southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It warned of thundershowers across Thailand, with isolated heavy to very heavy rain in the South.
People in at-risk areas along foothills and near waterways should beware of flooded conditions.
At risk areas include Chumphon, Surat Thani, Ranong, Phang-nga, Krabi and Trang.
Strong winds and waves of 2-3 metres are likely in the Andaman Sea and upper Gulf of Thailand. Shipping should proceed with caution; small boats should stay ashore for a few days.