Thais warned of heavy rain, flooding

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BANGKOK, July 24- Thai people have been warned of heavy rain and possible flooding as well as forest run-off this week due to the effects of Typhoon Vicente, according to the national weather bureau.

The Meteorological Department on Tuesday issued a warning for people living in the Northeast, North as well as the eastern provinces of Chanthaburi and Trat and the southern provinces of Ranong and Phang-nga asking residents to prepare for abundant rain and isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall between today and Friday.

In addition, residents in at risk zones and along waterway should beware of possible flash floods and forest run-off.

Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand will gain strength during these four days. The stronger winds and waves are expected in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand with waves 2-3 metres high. All shiping should proceed with caution and small boats in the Andaman Sea and the upper Gulf of Thailand keep ashore during the period.

The state weather agency explained that scattered rain with heavy rainfall in some areas and floods will take place in upper Thailand and some southern provinces resulting from the effects of Typhoon Vicente which was centred about 60km south of Macau, China.

The tropical cyclone is moving northwestward and was forecast to make landfall over upper Hainan today and move to upper Vietnam on Wednesday.

Currently, over 100 people were injured and trees were uprooted as the typhoon battered Hong Kong.

Hong Kong authorities issued a hurricane warning for the first time since 1999 as Typhoon Vicente roared to within 100km of Hong Kong shortly after midnight.

However, the warning was downgraded to a strong wind warning by mid-morning as the storm passed to the west and weakened over the southern Chinese coast.

The severe typhoon hitting Hong Kong disrupted ferry, bus and train services while some passenger flights were cancelled with hundreds of passengers being delayed.

Meanwhile, schools and the stock market were closed for the morning but were due to reopen later Tuesday.