Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bangkok Flooding Seems Imminent

We took  a short river trip on a water taxi on the Chao Phraya River this evening. The area we're in, Banglamphu in Bangkok proper, has so far escaped the floods that have inundated much of Bangkok in past weeks. Today we went shopping for a motorcycle jacket for Nut and just as we were about to head home she got a phone call from her sister, Aouw, telling us she had heard from someone at the Phranok Market that the Chao Phraya River had overflowed near our place and that it was raining furiously over here, again.

We rushed home and were relieved to find that the rain had stopped quickly and the river had already receded quite a bit. Still, the threat of flooding was now, in our minds at least, much more real than it had been before. We went to the riverside to see what we could see and decided to grab a water taxi and head up north, toward Nonthaburi, where the flooding was more serious. Here are a few photos from our trip. They were  taken in fading light near dusk on October 19, 2011.

Nut poses at Phra Sumen Park on the Chao Phraya riverside

River walkway flooding - Chao Phraya River - Phra Sumen Park
Rama VIII Bridge from the water taxi
Flooded building on the Chao Phraya River

A beautiful evening despite the flooding - Chao Phraya River - Bangkok, Oct 19, 2011
We went north for a few stops but decided we'd better get back while the getting was good. I definitely did not want to get trapped in one of the already flooded northern suburbs seeing as night was closing in and the taxis were due to stop running at 7 o'clock. Better to be back at home, come what may. So we jumped off the northbound taxi and grabbed a southbound one as soon as the darkness made picture taking difficult.  Here's a shot of the temple at Phra Sumen Park at dusk:

Temple - Phra Sumen Park - Bangkok, Oct 19, 2011

At this point, the situation here is the worst it's been since we returned from Udon. Opinions about whether Bangkok will flood are divided but Nut is convinced it will happen. The Chao Phraya is an estuary; ocean tides periodically raise its level for several miles upstream. The current high tide is running at about 3 meters but next weekend the high tides will peak at 3.5 meters and maintain that level for several days. Those tides coupled with the already maxed out water levels that exist in the river could indeed spell disaster for Bangkok. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Right now Nut is over at Aouw's helping her move things to the upper level away from the water that today began to encroach on the first floor. I stayed home to hit the sack early because I got two implants in my upper jaw this morning and I don't want to do anything to compromise that operation. I hope Nut will be safe and can get back here alright. Earlier this evening  I noticed for the first time that our apartment block is  at a slightly higher elevation than the streets surrounding it. Let's hope that if the shit hits the fan, our place will be among those that escape severe damage.