Bangkok could see floods in some areas as heavy downpours expected

Vehicles driving through a flooded road in Bangkok, Thailand, on Oct 14, 2017. The city has also taken measures to prepare for the coming rain, including clearing all canals and drainage paths and putting water drainage staff on standby to prepare fo
Vehicles driving through a flooded road in Bangkok, Thailand, on Oct 14, 2017. The city has also taken measures to prepare for the coming rain, including clearing all canals and drainage paths and putting water drainage staff on standby to prepare for the floods.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK - Thailand's capital Bangkok is expected to see another round of torrential downpours over the next few days, which could bring floods to some of the city's low-lying areas.

The Thai Meteorological Department has forecast heavy downpours from Tuesday to Thursday due to a monsoon trough, the Bangkok Post reported.

The maximum rainfall from the torrential rains could be as high as 60mm - the maximum level that Bangkok's water drainage system can accommodate, Thongplew Kongjun, the Royal Irrigation Department's (RID) deputy director-general said on Tuesday (Oct 17) .

As a result, some low-lying areas of the city could be inundated, including Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, Lat Phrao, and Sukhumvit, he said according to the paper.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on authorities to step up its efforts to handle the expected floods days after Bangkok was hit by its heaviest downpour in 30 years.

The city's residents on Saturday woke up to widespread floods in the morning, after up to 214mm of rain fell in a single night - leaving many areas in the capital flooded and clogging traffic. The deluge was the result of rain that fell for more than six hours overnight.

 
 

The floods led Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang to apologise to the public, saying officials had done everything they could.

Deputy Bangkok governor Chakkaphan Phewngam said on Monday flood-prone districts have been told to prepare for the potential downpours.

To prevent floods, the irrigation department has restricted water discharges from the Chao Phraya barrage to less than 2,800 cubic metres per second, the critical level at which flooding was likely to occur in Bangkok.

More than 2,000 homes that were located behind the Chao Phraya barrage have been left underwater after bearing the brunt of the floods.

The city has also taken measures to prepare for the coming rain, including clearing all canals and drainage paths and putting water drainage staff on standby to prepare for the floods.

In addition, the governor has also announced a plan to expand the city's sewers and review the sewage network. Some of the city's older and narrower sewers have been faulted for failing to siphon off excess water when the rainfall exceeded 100mm.

In the wake of the floods, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has admitted that the city cannot withstand more than 150mm of rain, adding that authorities had done their best to drain the floodwaters, The Nation reported.

The administration's deputy permanent secretary Sompong Wiangkaew said the sewage system had operated properly during the storm, but the deluge was beyond their capacity to prevent the floods.

"Our sewage system is designed for a rain amount of around 80 to 120mm of rain and if the rain is more than 150mm, it is inevitable for Bangkok to be flooded," Sompong said.

Nevertheless, he said that even in the extreme case of last Saturday's downpour, the administration managed to drain floodwater from all major areas of the capital within 12 hours.