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Storms set to dump heavy rains on Thailand this weekend

About 50 villagers from Kookot Pattana community in Pathum Thani

About 50 villagers from Kookot Pattana community in Pathum Thani

100mm-per-hour deluge forecast for Northeast, North, Central regions

Large storms are expected to bring heavy downpours throughout the country by the coming weekend, a senior weatherman said yesterday.

The regions to be hardest hit are the lower Northeast, middle North and upper Central, said Somchai Baimuang, deputy director-general of the Meteorological Department. Rainfall would be high, he predicted, at more than 100mm per hour. By comparison, a 60mm-per-hour shower ordinarily leaves Bangkok inundated for 12 hours afterwards.

Weather forecasters are keeping an eye on Typhoon Jelawat as it moves toward Taiwan and Tropical Storm Ewiniar heading toward Japan. The typhoon left at least two people dead and more than 180 injured in Japan over the weekend before passing out into the Pacific yesterday, according to news agencies.

Both storms are influencing heavy rains in Thailand, said Royol Jitdon, an expert on the Water and Flood Resources Management Committee.

Royol said his committee had nothing to do with the recent flooding in Bangkok - the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration operates the watergates.

He said he was keeping watch on the brimming reservoirs in Nakhon Ratchasima. Excessive water could leave eastern provinces inundated as it flows to Bangkok.

The committee is also working on speeding up water drainage in eastern Bangkok, but that is difficult because the waterways there are crooked and narrow, Royol added.

On the bright side, an unnamed tropical depression will be travelling past Vietnam on Thursday and could bring much-needed rain to drought-stricken northeastern provinces, Royol said.

But many provinces, especially Sukhothai and Phitsanulok in the lower North, are at risk of too much rain. Ayutthaya also faces repeated flooding, Royol said.

Eight of 12 districts in Phichit have been announced as disaster zones following floods caused by heavy rain coupled with the overflowing Yom River, which has swelled from runoff in the North.

Meanwhile, there is good progress on the construction of dams and floodgates, including the Bang Kruay watergate in Nonthaburi, said Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut. The Bang Kruay gate could prevent mass floods in western Bangkok and other provinces west of the Chao Phrya River.

A permanent floodwall on the Chao Phraya's western bank has been approved and it would prevent floods in western Bangkok as well, Theera said.


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