Heavy rain and storms over the past few days have caused flash floods in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, Trang and Chumphon provinces. Whilst shopping in Nakhon Si Thammarat yesterday, we witnessed extreme flodding around Tesco and The Twin Lotus Hotel, with the local streets severely flooded and the entrance to Tesco was under several inches of water. The shelves in Tesco were almost empty, with no fresh meat or vegetables, probably as people were panic buying and farmers having difficulty getting produce to market.
The adverse weather forced the closure of Nakhon Si Thammarat airport and the suspension of all flights in and out of the province.
Officials confirmed at least three people have died in Nakhon Si Thammarat the hardest hit among the five affected southern provinces, where more than 61,500 people in 34 districts have been affected by the flooding.
Officials yesterday identified one of the three flood victims as Songchai Damduang, 68, a Phipun district resident. The man was reported to have left his home on Saturday and was missing for 12 hours before his body was found.
Eight crocodiles have reportedly slipped out of Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality's zoo after it too was flooded.
Flood water swept into Tha Sala district hospital, damaging more than 10 million baht worth of medical equipment.
At least 100,000 rai of farmland in the province has also been flooded, with damage estimated at 300 million baht.
A mudslide was reported at Ban Nakhon Bang Cham in Wipawadi district. One house was buried after it was hit by the mudslide but there was no report of deaths or injuries.
Muang Phatthalung district was declared a disaster area yesterday, bringing the total number of districts affected by the flood to nine, out of the provincial total of 11.
The flood level in some areas of the province was reported to be as high as two metres.
In Trang, six of its 10 districts have now been affected by flooding after the water level in Trang River rose, forcing residents in Muang district to evacuate their homes for fear that the flood walls along the river banks might collapse, as they did in November last year.
In Chumphon, several roads were flooded. They included the Chumphon-Surat Thani road which links with neighbouring provinces.
More heavy rainfall can be expected over the next few days because of a new wave of low pressure over the middle part of the South which is expected to move further southward today, said Torsak Wanitkhachorn, director-general of the Meteorological Department.
The low pressure should begin fading into the Andaman Sea tomorrow but its effects would continue to be felt until Friday, he said.
This amount of rain this time of the year is very unusual as it is coming up to the hottest period in Thailand, when there is normally no rain at all.