Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flooding Throughout Thailand

The areas in blue are already flooded - the red spots are in danger.

This isn't breaking news to many of you - it's old news to some - but it's very much on the minds of those currently dealing with it in many, many parts of Thailand - and those of us who have friends and loved ones there.

The heavy rains that have been coming down for the past few weeks have overwhelmed the drainage systems, the rivers, the levees, the dams and the saturation point of the land itself, and still the rain falls. In a more normal season the water flows down the natural paths; man-made waterways and systems that empty into the rivers which make their gentle way to the Gulf of Thailand and into the South China Sea, eventually ending up in the Indian or Pacific Ocean, depending.

This is not a normal season.

In the top image you can see areas in blue that are flooded. Note the city of Udonthani in the upper right quadrant and you can see how much of Issan is under water, as are many, many of the farming areas surrounding Bangkok, near the gulf coast.  There have been major efforts to protect the business and tourist areas of Bangkok, and millions of sandbags have been placed and re-placed as the waters make their way to the gulf.

Normally I wouldn't post such unpleasant news other than to send a prayer or good wishes to those who are suffering at the moment, but the sheer size of this event is compelling enough to share a couple of the images I've seen online.

The image below gives another view of the path of the water. Note the green "O" I placed in the approximate area you may have stayed in when visiting Bangkok; the Pathum Thani district, home to many of the shopping, club areas and tourist stops.

The flooding was so overwhelming that the government made the choice to allow the water to nearly demolish the areas to the East of Bangkok, and you can see that in the image below, also. There was simply too much to control, and more is on the way.

Estimates are that it will be six to eight weeks before the water has cleared out and the area has been cleaned up again, but that doesn't save the crops - and homes - that will be lost along the way.  If you have friends, family or loved ones there I hope they remain safe and dry... but it's going to be a challenge.

Once again I ask you to join me in holding the good thought for the people of Thailand.  They need it.


As an addendum a few hours later, the Bangkok Post reports that the Governor of Bangkok says high tides for the 27th through the 31st will hamper water flowing from the Chao Phraya river into the gulf.

Today's level was estimated to reach 2.35 meters above mean sea level, and the concern is that it may well reach 2.60 meters.

The walls built along the river to keep it within its banks as it flows through central Bangkok are only 2.50 meters.


Another addendum, Wednesday the 26th: the entire city  of eight to ten million people is expected to flood tonight, to some degree - somewhere between 550 and 600 square miles.  Almost unbelievable.

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