The latest flood warning was issued for Muang district of Phetchaburi, considered the gateway to the South, with the water level at Kaeng Krachan dam at a 10-year high and still pouring down the spillway as of press time.
The water level in the Phetchaburi River was expected to peak at midday today with experts predicting it would burst its banks and flood low-lying areas. They estimated the water level would reach between 10-20 centimetres, with the floods expected to last for around a week.
As of yesterday afternoon (Aug 21), the water level in the Phetchaburi River near the provincial governor’s residence was 5cm below its banks, causing minor flooding in low-lying communities.
Sant Joncharoen, director of the Phetchaburi irrigation project, said the Phetchaburi dam was discharging 140-160 cubic metres of water per second into the river due to spillover from the Kaeng Krachan dam upstream.
This was holding 777 million cu/m or 109% of its full capacity yesterday, the highest rate recorded in the last decade. It was discharging water at a rate of 286 cu/m per second, its peak rate. This forced the Phetchaburi dam to release more water into the river.
Meanwhile, the water flowing down its spillway was 1.44 metres deep. The flood surge was due to reach the heart of Phetchaburi province at around midday, Mr Sant said.
Floodwater in Muang district would be 10-20cm deep and remain that way for up to seven days before subsiding, he added.
Mr Sant said authorities were mobilising efforts to speed up water drainage. Residents living on riverbanks and low-lying areas were also urged to move their belongings to higher ground.
Deputy provincial governor Nathawut Phetpromsorn said the floods would slow traffic on the Phetkasem highway, a key arterial road leading south. Vehicles were directed to take detours.
The Office of the National Water Resources said the Phetchaburi River received water from the dam and was reported to be overflowing in Tha Yang and Muang districts.
About 50 resort hotels near the river were flooded and operators have asked provincial authorities to speed up their drainage work downstream.
Downtown Phetchaburi has only just recovered from major floods earlier this month.
The Meteorological Department warned of increased rainfall from tomorrow (Aug 23) until next Monday (Aug 27).
It urged residents to prepare for flash floods and mudslides.
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