Storm warning issued as Thailand floods

An area of low pressure over the Andaman Sea could intensify into a depression as it heads towards the southeastern coast of Burma, meteorologists warn.

Areas of southern Thailand have been left flooded as heavy rains caused by the low-pressure zone crossed over Hat Yai on Monday. Burmese meteorologist Dr Htun Lwin said that a close eye was being kept on how the storm develops.

“It is crucial [we know] which direction it’s heading in. If it’s moving northwest, we will feel its effects within 48 hours,” he said.

A weather report aired on Burmese state radio said that “strong easterly winds with moderate to rough seas are likely” and “surface wind speed…reach (35) mph” along the coastline bordering Mon state and Tennasserim division in Burma’s southeast.

Residents of Tennasserim division’s Kawthaung town said there has been no official warning on the storm yet, but one man said: “It looks as if the wind is about to start blowing and clouds are forming.”

The country’s western Arakan state is still reeling from cyclone Giri, which destroyed some 15 buildings and left 81,000 homeless when it slammed into the coastline on 22 October. The UN has estimated 45 deaths, but reports on the ground claim much higher.

Burmese migrant workers living in Thailand’s Hat Yai said that streets were submerged under four feet of water. “The storm hit the town around 9:30pm and the whole town was already underwater by 10pm,” said one.

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