Northern provinces brace for approaching tropical storm


PHICHIT, July 30 – Thailand’s northern provinces on Saturday are in preparation for possible floods from the upcoming tropical storm ‘Nock-Ten’ which is forecast to move into Thailand after making landfall in Vietnam tonight.

In the lower northern province of Phichit, Governor Suwit Watcharotayangkul visited riverside areas and monitored water level in two major waterways: the Yom River and the Nan River.

In response to a warning by the regional Meteorological Department related to the Nock-Ten tropical storm which will eventually prevail over Thailand, Mr Suwit said he had ordered concerned officials and community leaders to be on high alert and prepare for the upcoming storm, which may trigger floods.

According to the governor, rainfall from the tropical storm is expected to raise water levels in the Yom River and the Nan River. Also, it may overflow river banks as water in the upper parts of the two rivers is abundant and continuously flowing into Phichit.

The Yom River passes through Sam Ngam, Pho Prathap Chang, Bueng Na Rang and Pho Thale districts while the Nan River runs through the provincial seat, Taphan Hin and Bang Mun Nak districts.

Currently the water level is almost overflowing. In Pho Thale, some flooding has occurred, damaging some rice paddy fields and farmland.

Meanwhile, authorities in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district used three heavy construction backhoe loaders to dredge up clay and sandy dunes in the Chan River, aiming to drain and redirect water flow as well as to prevent water from overflowing into houses and business area in the heart of the district.

According to the Meteorological Department warning on Saturday, tropical storm ‘Nock-Ten’ was centered over the western coast of China’s Hainan Island in the Gulf of Tonkin, with sustained wind about 90 kilometres/hour.

The storm is moving west-southwestward at a speed about 18 kilometres/hour. It will make landfall over upper Vietnam tonight and head to neighbouring Laos and then upper-most northeastern Thailand. More torrential rain is likely in much of Thailand. People living along foothills, near waterways and in lowland should be on alert for possible flash flooding.

Strong waves in the Andaman Sea and the upper Gulf of Thailand are likely, at 2-4 meters high. All ships should proceed with caution and small boats kept ashore from 30 July to 4 August.