It’s rare to see the cost of a piece of computing equipment ever go up. Parts and systems are usually at their most expensive the day they’re released, and then proceed to drop sharply until they are no longer made. It’s the unyielding march of technology – Moore’s Law in action.

This past month, however, has seen skyrocketing prices of a critical PC component: the hard drive.

The reason? A large percentage of hard drive production takes place in Thailand, which has been hit by monsoon season flooding.

An aerial view of a flooded Bangkok

The floods, which began in late July, are now slowly receding. Hard drive production has been impacted since then, but it has taken until now for the existing supply chain to dry up and for prices to rise.

According to TechRadar, prices have risen as much as 150% and a shortfall of 70 million drives is projected for the final quarter of 2011.

Many of us now rely less on our own local storage and more on cloud storage, and those services are large consumers of hard drives. Analysts are forecasting problems as we head into 2012 and those services find it more difficult to meet their drive demands.

The flood’s impact on the tech industry is, of course, merely a secondary story to the loss of life and the hardship of those affected. 621 people so far have died as a result of the flooding, and far many more have suffered from the destruction of their homes and communities. If you would like to help, donations can be made directly to the Thai Red Cross (link goes to the Thai Red Cross’s English language page).