Floods that have sparked an exodus from the Thai capital crept closer to the city centre on Friday as the government considered cutting through roads blocking the path of the water.

The city of 12 million people is on heightened alert because of threats on two fronts — a seasonal high tide this weekend that is expected to coincide with the arrival of a mass of water from the flood-stricken central plains.

Tens of thousands of residents have left Bangkok after the government declared a special five-day holiday, flocking to rail and bus stations in the city and jamming roads as they head to areas out of the path of the water.

So far, however, central Bangkok has only seen minor inundation in areas along the swollen Chao Phraya River, including near the Grand Palace, with the water receding after high tide passes.

Tourists walking through ankle-deep water near the Grand Palace appeared unfazed, despite a slew of travel warnings from foreign governments.

Friday's high tide was lower than expected, raising hopes that the flood barriers on the Chao Phraya — the city's main river — would prevent a major overflow this weekend.

The three-month crisis — triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains — has left at least 377 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods, mostly in northern and central Thailand. — AFP

Keywords: Thailand flood

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