People living along rivers on alert as more rains are expected and water runoff from North is approaching

People living along the Chao Phraya river banks are now on high alert and are ready to evacuate as flood runoff from the North are flowing downstream to the Central Plain and heavy rainfalls are also predicted over the next 24 hours in the central, lower northeastern, and eastern parts of the country.

The Meteorological Department today forecasts heavy rains in some areas of the central region, lower northeastern and eastern parts and warns people in these areas of danger from rainwater accumulation that could cause flooding.

It said Bangkok will continue to be affected by heavy rains in some areas late this afternoon.

For people living along the rivers and by the connected canals, they are warned to prepare for evacuation as now water released from Chao Phraya dam in Chainat province to store water run-off from the North, has started to affect the residents living along the rivers.

Wider low lying areas along the river basin are likely to be affected soon.

In Mae Wong and Lat Yao districts of Nakhon Sawan province, water runoff from Mae Wong national park has flooded vast farming areas.

In some areas, flood was reported to be over 2 metres deep.

Now in the municipal areas of Lat Yao district, government offices and market were flooded, prompting local authorities to build sandbag embankment to prevent flood water to wreak wider havoc as rains and water runoff are expected add more hardship to residents.

In Phitsanulok's Bang Rakam district, the Yom river has bursted banks submerging three districts, damaging more than 10,000 rai of paddy fields that starting to yield crops.

Meanwhile several temples along the Chao Phraya river are hurriedly erected sandbag embankments as water released from Chao Phraya dam and continued rains over the next 24 hours could overflow banks.

Now several temples in Pamok district of Ang Thong are threatened by swollen river.

Strong tide and increasing water has inundated Wat Sa Kaeo in Pamok and was encircling a rice warehouse for orphans, forcing monks and villagers to hastily fill in the sandbags to block the water.

Ang Thong governor has led officials to inspect the flood risk locations along the Chao Phraya river starting from the province border connecting with Phrom Buri district of Sing Buri Province.

Some 20 households along Phong Peng canal were affected from the 40 centimetre deep flood.

Meanwhile the 12th Region Irrigation Office in Chainat province has been forced to vent huge volumes of water from the Chao Phraya dam after twin rainstorms that lashed the northern part of the country resulted in a massive influx of water.

The office has warned people in seven provinces located in the central plains of the country to prepare for possible flooding.

According to the office, sustained and widespread rainstorms have resulted in continuous overflows from Nakhon Sawan province and the Sakae Krang river basin to flow into the Chao Phraya dam.

Now the dam is releasing 1,500 cubic meters per second of water to prepare for the massive overflows that are expected to arrive from areas upstream from the massive rainstorms that hit the upper portions of the country.

As a result of this, many areas downstream now face the threat of flooding from waters bursting banks, authorities warned.

But chief of the office assured that although the situation is a concern, it has not reached critical levels as the expected increase in water volume is still within acceptable parameters.

Recent measurements taken show water depths in the dam at 16.07 meters leaving substantial reserves for the dam to take in water up to October.

Furthermore, he assured that it is highly unlikely that Thailand will be hit by a second twin-rainstorm � such as is happening now; anytime within the year.

But in any event, he made it clear that they have made adequate preparations and the release of water from the Chao Phraya dam is part of the preventive action.

Other measures include the monitoring and controlling of water inflows into the canals and areas located west and northeast of the dam.

Also controlled release of water from the dam will be carried out gradually so that areas downstream will not be overburdened.

As a result of the water release from dam, many areas downstream such as lowlands in Sena and Bang Ban districts in Ayutthaya province have reported water overflowing the banks of canals and rivers and causing flooding.

Residents living along the Bang Ban canal reported flood waters have reached 50 -60 cm.

Many homes have had to be evacuated and soldiers were out to help them evacuate to higher grounds.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)