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‘Lionlock’ to Hit Thailand by Tuesday, Pushing Thailand’s Flood Crisis to Critical Levels

Floodwaters have started to permeate low-lying areas of Bangkok with Thai officials looking uneasily at a tropical depression that could develop into a full-blown typhoon by Tuesday.

Dubbed “Lionlock” – not to be confused with the 2016 typhoon called “Lionrock” that caused significant flooding and casualties in North Korea and Japan – the storm is growing from a tropical depression in the South China Sea and could strengthen into a typhoon by the time it hits northern Vietnam over the weekend.

By Tuesday, it will move into Thailand, bringing more heavy rain that the Northeast and Central can ill afford – despite assertions by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha that prayers could keep more major storms away.

Throughout the flood crisis that began with Tropical Storm Dianmu, Thai officials have maintained that it would not get as bad as 2011.  But as the Chao Phraya River started to rise in Bangkok, they added the caveat that for the river to fall, there couldn’t be any more big storms.

“What we expect is that if they don’t have any more heavy rain in the coming week, we should be safe,” Nattapon Nattasomboon, director-general of the Thai Meteorological Department, told the Associated Press.

But now, not only is Lionlock bearing down on Thailand, but another storm is brewing near the Philippines with no one sure which way it will go.

The Meteorological Department issued a warning Oct. 7, saying Lionlock was moving at 55 kilometers an hour and would move into Vietnam Oct. 10.

From Oct. 7-11, the rather strong southwest monsoon will bring waves of up to three meters to the Andaman Sea and and Gulf of Thailand.

Eight people died and one remains missing in the flooding triggered by Dianmu and normal rainy season storms. Almost 287,000 homes have been damaged in 32 provinces, although waters have begun to recede in 14 of them.