Oct 15 2011

Bangkok flooding update: October 15, 2011

Published by at 8:45 pm under Floods

Since Monday, we’ve been saying that the next few days will be critical in determining the severity of the floods. Now it’s Saturday, and the forecast is still uncertain. Supermarket shelves have been re-stocked with noodles, and subsequently emptied. Consumer panic is on the rise, but no one really knows if the worst is over.

Monsoon rain and knee-deep puddles on Sukhumvit Soi 19 last night.

The flooding is dependent on multiple factors (humans can only do so much in the face of natural disaster). The most crucial element is the tide level, which you can monitor daily with EasyTide Prediction. Today, the tides reached their highest point at approximately 10:00 this morning and will rise again around 20:00 — why, that’s half an hour ago… As quoted by Agence France-Presse, Worapat Tianprasit at the Royal Irrigation Department declared, “If the tide does not exceed 2.5m, there won’t be any flooding.” Let’s hope he’s a man of his word.

Sandbag safety in front of a nursing home.

So far, the outskirts of the city have seen the worst of the flooding, and central Bangkok, in all its shopping mall and sky scraper glory, has stayed (relatively) dry. The NNT reports the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has offered free buses for flood victims in Ayutthaya to come to Bangkok, a damp haven of safety. Within Bangkok, the transport operators have graciously promised to not raise their fares. The US Embassy released an update today, predicting the flooding in Bangkok will peak October 16 to 18. As mentioned in some of our earlier posts, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is supplying a daily update, which usually comes out any minute now. At Suvarnabhumi airport, it’s business as usual.

Rain at the BTS station this afternoon.

I braved the afternoon monsoon today to head down to the Chao Phraya at Sathorn pier at Saphan Taksin station, and despite the sandbags and makeshift step bridges out of wooden planks, the boats were running efficiently, with no mention of the floods.

Sandbag wall, nine layers deep

Sandbag wall, nine layers high.

Still not sure about what to do if you’re planning a trip to Thailand amid the bad weather? As frustrating as this may sound, we’ll just have to wait it out to see the full effects of the flooding in Bangkok.

To ease your nerves, check the Emergency Operation Centre for daily statistics and flood locations — though it seems only the occasional update is translated into English. The most recent was October 13, which worryingly notes the levels key dams are at: Bhumibol dam is at 99%, Sirikit dam 98%, Kwae Noi dam 100% and Pasak dam 131% (though once it’s actually over capacity, would love to know how they measure that!).

Boats afloat, sandbags waitin'.

Travelfish.org advice for central Bangkok visitors: buy a pair of galoshes, remain calm, and stay tuned.

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