CHIANG MAI – Four waterfalls in two national parks in Chiang Mai have been closed to tourists after heavy rain and subsequent run-off made the areas too dangerous for visitors.
The waterfalls are in Doi Inthanon National Park and Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
Pornthep Charoensuebsakul, chief of Doi Inthanon National Park in Chom Thong district, said two of the seven waterfalls in the park, Mae Klang and Mae Ya, were closed until further notice.
The heavy rain that pounded Chom Thong district from 3am Wednesday, followed by run-off from the mountain, caused the Mae Klang stream to overflow and flood Muang Klang village.
The water level at Mae Klang and Mae Ya waterfalls had increased alarmingly, prompting Doi Suthep National Park officials and local administrators to close them to tourists and warn villagers of flash floods.
Mr Pornthep said park officials were keeping a close watch on all tourist spots to ensure safety around the clock.
A warning had been issued for tourists to avoid the waterfalls.
Kritsiam Kongsatree, director of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in Mae Rim district, said run-off had swollen the streams feeding the Mae Sa and Tat Mok waterfalls, which were now deemed unsafe for visitors and had been closed to the public.
Janesak Limpiti, director of Chiang Mai’s irrigation office, said the watergate at tambon Pa Dad in Muang district had been raised higher to release water from the upper Ping River at 14 million cubic metres per day and help prevent flooding in central Chiang Mai.
Khomsan Suwan-ampa, director of Zone 10 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office in Lampang, said Chiang Mai province was about 90% cloud covered, with thunderstorms and steady rain. The highest rainfall was recorded in Mae On district, with 48.0 millimetres.
The northern meteorological office has predicted heavy rain in most parts of Chiang Mai, particularly Om Koi, Hot, Doi Tao, Chom Thong and San Pa Tong.