Thailand hit by heavy rain

Southeast Asian nation takes a lashing as rains pours down in what is normally a drier season.


     Thailand's meteorological department has issued flashflood and mudslide warnings for the northern region [AFP]

    Much of Thailand, including Bangkok, remains under the threat of rainstorms this week following a spell of very wet weather which has led to flash flooding.

    It is fair to say that most of Thailand does have an abundant amount of rainfall, but this is largely confined to the months from May to October. At this time of year, the weather is dominated by the southwest monsoon blowing in from the Indian Ocean and bringing warm, humid air, along with plenty of clouds.

    November to April is supposed to be much drier because of the northeasterly winds. Rain usually falls on only four or five days per month, if that. The average rainfall in the northern hills in April is around 36mm.

    On Saturday, Sukhothai, located in the valley of the Yom river, had 75mm of rain in only 24 hours.

    Further south, the central province of Sababuri had two hours of heavy downpours. As a result, some sections of the Mitraphap highway, which links the northeast with the central region, were cut off for a time due to floodwater coming down from nearby hills.

    Strong winds also accompanied the storms, toppling trees and causing electricity blackouts in some areas.

    Clearly the ground is already saturated in many areas, not least across those northern provinces where yet more rain is expected this week. As a result, the Thailand Meteorological Department has issued warnings for the likelihood of flashfloods and mudslides in the coming days.

    We are now going into that transitional period before the southwest monsoon, when we can expect to see a marked increase in the rainfall totals. The fears are that these floods and mudslides will become a frequent event over the coming summer months.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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