11 July 2024

Chi and Mun river basins in the north-east of Thailand will suffer the worst effects of tropical storm Noru, which is expected to hit the region this Thursday, although the amount of rainfall may not be as much as that caused by two previous storms, Noul in September 2020 and Dianmu last September.

Thammapong Naowabut, head of water situation and analysis for the National Water Resources Office, admitted that there is widespread concern over the potential impact of Noru, due the characteristics it does have in common with Dianmu last September.

He said that, although the three storms share similar path across Thailand, rainfall, forecast using a simulation model, is expected to be about 200mm from Noru, compared to 407mm for Noul and 300mm for Dianmu.

He predicted that Noru will move into Myanmar faster than Dianmu and, even if the storm dissolves over Thailand, it will not create the conditions seen last year, when the amount of water entering the Pasak reservoir surged to 1.3 billion cubic metres. Noru may cause waterway overflows for a short period of time, he said, but excess water must be drained out of the reservoir quickly.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that the Chi and Mun rivers and their tributaries in the north-east are now already swollen and are about to break their banks if there is more heavy rain, compounded by the rising level of the Mekong River.

According to images from the COSMO-Skymed-2 satellite, about 8,782 hectares of land, including 4,365 hectares of rice fields, in Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Amnat Charoen and Yasothon provinces, have been flooded.

According to a Meteorological Department official, people living in the Mun and Chi river basins will be affected by the storm the most.