ROARING in Thailand before dawn this morning (Sept. 18) was tropical storm Noul directly hitting Khon Kaen city in the Northeast while also triggering continuous rainfall across southern coastal province of Phang Nga, Siam Rath reported.
Noul unleashed heavy downpour and strong gusty winds in Khon Kaen from 4 a.m. onward leading to many roads being flooded, with floodwater highest at Ban Kok road surging to 30 to 50 centimetres for a two–kilometre stretch from of Ban Kok School till Mittraphab highway intersection.
Some footpaths and shops and homes along this road also got flooded preventing merchants from opening for business today.
Vehicles moved with great difficulty through the floodwater during the rush hour with several small cars stalling in the middle of the road.
Khon Kaen Governor Somsak Changtrakul issued an urgent order to all departments to continuously monitor the impact of Noul and be ready to help the people all 24 hours. He also urge the people to only follow flood updates issued by the government.
The Thai Meteorological Department warned Khon Kaen that another round of torrential downpour is due from this afternoon till evening.
Meanwhile luxury hotels at Khao Lak seaside destination in Phang Nga’s Takua Pa district raised red flags to prohibit tourists from swimming in the sea because of high waves and fast winds amid continuous rainfall dumped by Noul as it goes over the central part of South China Sea.
Tourists were warned that swimming in the rough seas can lead to their eyes getting damaged. Local fishermen also rushed to bring the boats ashore until the seawaters calm down.
Phang Nga’s Deputy Governor Mr. Chotinarin Kerdsom alerted all government units to be prepared for flash flooding.
Khao Lak was the coastal area hardest hit by the tsunami resulting from the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Many people died including many foreign tourists and most of the coastal landscape, such as beaches, resorts and vegetation, was destroyed by the tsunami.
Top and bottom: Heavy flooding in Khon Kaen this morning
First and second below: A red flag at Khao Lak beach with gusty winds blowing ashore. Photos: Siam Rath