Weather official plays down minister's warning
Responding to a statement from Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee calling on Bangkok residents to take a three-day break from work next week in case of heavy flooding in the city, the Meteorological Department said it was not needed and that carrying an umbrella would be enough by the weekend.
"People living in coastal areas should use caution and monitor weather reports, but evacuation is not necessary at present," said deputy director-general Somchai Baimuang.
Last year, Plodprasob earned a reputation for making exaggerated statements on the flood situation and issuing unnecessarily alarming warnings. One statement during the middle of the crisis announcing a violent flash flood in Nonthaburi prompted a large-scale evacuation of residents, but the event never happened.
In response to Somchai's announcement, Plodprasob later said his suggestion of a break from work followed a standard used in the West, so that "people stay home, and away from dangers, while officials can fully carry out their relief operations".
According to Somchai, Tropical Storm Gaemi will transform into a less devastating tropical depression upon its scheduled arrival in Thailand tomorrow, causing heavy rain in the Central, lower North and East, covering several hundred square kilometres, before passing out of Thailand on Monday.