Bangkok is bracing for the worst flooding it’s seen in decades as waters from the flooded central plains continue to rush in. Thailand is racing to build floodwalls on the outskirts of Bangkok to prevent the worst floods in half a century from inundating parts of the capital later this week when water flowing from the north reaches the city.
Rising water levels on the Chao Phraya river and city canals have left some riverside restaurants, shops and homes submerged, while public piers are covered in makeshift platforms and sandbags to keep ferry passengers dry.
At least 269 people have been killed by heavy monsoon rains, floods and mudslides that have battered 27 of Thailand’s 77 provinces since late July, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
Bangkok – only two meters above sea level – could be next if water overflowing from reservoirs in the north arrives at the same time as high estuary tides are due from Oct 13.
Major tourist destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Ko Samui, and all provinces in southern Thailand are experiencing normal weather conditions. All airports throughout Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, have not been affected by the floods and are operating as per usual.
Tourists can call the TAT Information Line at 1672 to check local conditions, or visit the Thailand Meteorological Department web site athttp://www.tmd.go.th/en for updated weather forecasts.
Update for Bangkok
The areas of central Bangkok where tourists normally go are not flooded and fully accessible. Everything continues as normal for both visitors and Bangkok residents in these areas.
Most of the flooding now taking place is in provinces to the north and east of Bangkok. Almost all of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area is protected by a large network of flood walls, levees, canals and drainage tunnels. The city government is using this network to manage the water flow and minimize flooding in the city.
Some outlying suburban districts of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area outside of these flood defenses could face flooding if the current situation continues. During periods of intensely heavy rain, there is some localized flooding of certain low-lying streets in Bangkok. These conditions are quickly cleared up by municipal work crews and the city’s storm water drainage system.
The Chao Phaya river, which runs through Bangkok, is at a higher-than-normal level with some localised flooding along certain sections of its banks. The river’s water flow is being carefully managed by government officials to prevent broader flooding. The area around Suvarnabhumi Airport has considerable flood protection measures in place. The airport has not been affected by floods and continues to operate normally.
Visitors can check water levels in each district of Bangkok at the Royal Irrigation Department: http://dds.bangkok.go.th/scada