Heavy rain, floods impact air, rail, road travel in South

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NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Jan 3 – Heavy rainfall and flooding hit several southern Thai provinces as the New Year opened, disrupting travel with all flights suspended at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport, and railway tracks and a main highway underwater.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, Governor Wirote Jiwarangsan declared three districts disaster zones, ordering government workers to help flood-affected residents. In Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality, floodwater has continued rising since dawn, flooding all communities in the municipality as the rains continue.

All flights have been suspended at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport due to poor weather, leaving several hundred passengers stranded. The railway from Nakhon Si Thammarat station to Tung Song station is underwater. Rail passengers travelling north are advised to board trains at Tung Song station.

In Phatthalung, an overnight rain triggered flooding in business areas in the provincial seat. Many roads are under 40cm of water as the flood keeps rising. Phatthalung Hospital is flooded, causing difficulties for patients coming to hospital.

The provincial prison, located on a low-lying area, is also underwater. Guards and inmates are draining water from the premises. In some areas out of town, floodwater is as deep as two metres.

In Chumphon, Lang Suan district has been hard hit as all areas have been flooded and the municipality has been cut off, affecting several thousand people. Due to heavy rain and flash flood, a portion of inbound and outbound Asian Highway lanes near the Thung Tako district office is under 50cm of water, impassable for all vehicles.

In Surat Thani, six districts were declared disaster zones. On Monday morning, a flash flood hit the Surat Thani-Nakhon Si Thammarat Road near Kanchanadit Hospital and authorities warned residents in Kanchanadit district to watch for a possible new round of flooding from Romyen National Park after 210mm of rain fell Monday morning.

In Trang however, the rain has stopped and flooding has eased in the provincial seat. It was expected to return to normal Monday evening if there was no more rain.

Songkhla’s business district of Hat Yai saw the flood subsiding on Tuesday. Shops in Hat Yai market reopened, but garbage scattered by the flood remained on roads.