Friday, October 7, 2011

Flood Warning

Late yesterday afternoon, I received an email forwarded from Kevin's office.  The forwarded email was from the management company of Nichada to advise residents that sandbags and concrete blocks are being installed in and around Nichada "in the unlikely event that flood waters coming down from North of Bangkok become high enough to reach Nichada." 

I was a little surprised as I did not even know there was flooding in northern Thailand and I certainly had no idea there was a chance it might affect us.  I remember reading something earlier this week about a tropical storm moving from Vietnam across Thailand and I assumed that was the reason for the floods.  However, this morning, I googled "2011 flooding in Bangkok" and my surprise turned to shock as I read about the magnitude of flooding that has occurred (and continues to occur) north of Bangkok over the last couple of months.  As Kevin pointed out to me this morning (from the comforts of Washington, DC), this is the very same area where we are to vacation in 2 weeks.  We are nearing the end of our monsoon season so heavy rains are typical but the deaths and the damage that have resulted this year are incredible. 

While we do not have a newspaper delivered to our home, every few days, I go to the school library and read through the international newspapers.  I also read CNN and the Washington Post every day on-line.  Mind you, I don't read every article but enough to keep myself knowledgeable about what is going on the U.S. and the world.  However, until I received that email and then did the internet search, I had not seen or heard ANYTHING about this flooding.  PeePorn, who lives about 45 minutes north of Nichada, told me that her village is inundated with refugees from the flooding.  Interestingly enough, when I was on a few minutes ago, there was a "headline" article about the flooding in Bangkok  so I guess flooding in Bangkok (as opposed to flooding in Thailand's rural areas/rice paddies) is significant enough to merit media attention. 

Always the worrier, I went out and did some reconnaissance this afternoon.  The Chao Phraya river is already overflowing and flooding some areas immediately adjacent to the riverbanks.  According to people who have been here a while, although Nichada is very close to the river, our flooding won't be from the river, at least not immediately.  There are many canals in and around Nichada (and Bangkok) and, since they cannot drain into the river because it is now overflowing, they will back up and flood us.  The "determining factor" as to whether we flood or not (and how much) will be the amount of rain we get this weekend.  Quite a bit is predicted and since all of Bangkok is at sea level, there is nowhere for the water to go but into the canals and then the river (which is already full).  To add a little more fun to the mix, a high tide/full moon will affect all of this as well.

On my way home from my "recon", I took some photos of the protective measures that have been installed in Nichada and will post those tomorrow.  I must say that seeing the scope of what is installed has made me a little (more) worried as it seems like a significant expense and amount of work for just an "unlikely chance" of flooding.  When I was coming home from Christopher's basketball game tonight (and I will have more on the game tomorrow), I saw three 18-wheelers full of cement blocks and sand bags heading into the center of Nichada. 

I was absolutely thrilled when we made it through three years in Miami without experiencing a hurricane so I guess this is my "payback". 

I will keep you all posted.  Literally.

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