September 26, 2013 00:00
By ATTAYUTH BOOTSRIPOOM
Bangkok safe as rains will not coincide with high-tide period this year
DESPITE HEAVY downpours over the past two weeks, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) still believes the capital should escape floods this rainy season.
“Run-offs and rain will not coincide with high tides this year,” an official at the BMA Flood Prevention Centre said in a recent interview.
According to the centre, rainfall and run-offs are expected to peak in Bangkok late this month, while the high-tide period will begin next month.
“Hence, the current water situation is far less worrying than in 2011,” the official said.
Two years ago, Bangkok was among the many provinces hit hard by floods.
Slightly better measures
The BMA says that though its flood-prevention systems remain pretty much the same, they have been improved to some extent. For instance, flood barriers along the Chao Phraya River are now up to 3 metres high, when two years ago they stood at 2.5m at the most.
The BMA has also said that it should be able to clear road surfaces within an hour if the rainfall does not exceed 60 millimetres per hour. The city administration remains confident even though nearby provinces such as Ayutthaya, Lop Buri and Prachin Buri are already inundated.
More than 8,000 families in Prachin Buri have been affected by flooding. In addition, up to 24 schools have sustained water damage, as have 23 roads and a bridge. One death has been reported so far.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department yesterday forecast higher rainfall in the lower Northeast region during the weekend.
“A strong high-pressure cell will reach the region during this period,” it said.
Locals have been warned to be careful of downpour-related risks in Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani.
Many provinces in the Northeast have been struggling lately. For instance, more than 353,300 people in Si Sa Ket have been adversely affected.
Pravej Nonthasee, acting chief of the Si Sa Ket Provincial Prison, said the correctional facility was surrounded by a metre of water. “We have had to form a 1.5-metre high sandbag wall around our facility, and as a precaution, we have also moved inmates from the ground floor to higher floors,” he said.
In Ubon Ratchathani, the run-off from Det Udom district damaged a key bridge connecting the Na Yia district with the heart of the province. Officials have now closed the bridge to traffic.
According to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, floods have ravaged 27 provinces this month, though the situation in Kanchanaburi and Chumphon has already improved.