Wednesday’s record rains in Bangkok cripple the centre of the city

Wednesday night’s downpour wasn’t just torrential, it was record-breaking! It was the highest rainfall recorded in 67 years in some areas of the centre of the Thai capital. Even the 20 baht convenience store raincoats were no match for the downpour.

Rainfall measured at the Queen Sirikit Convention Centre in Khlong Toei district on Wednesday night was 132.5mm, surpassing the earlier record of 108mm on July 30th, 1955.

Over 100mm of rain poured into Khlong Toei and Bang Na, the central districts of Bangkok, on Wednesday evening, with more downpours predicted today and over the weekend.

In the Khlong Toei district, which takes in the area south of Sukhumvit Road to the Chao Phraya, rainfall was measured at 130.3mm, breaking a 26 year old record. And in Bang Na, 126mm was recorded, the heaviest in eight years.

In Min Buri district, north of Suvarnabhumi Airport, 165mm of rainfall was recorded for the whole day on Wednesday.

On Nut 71 and 39 were still under water during yesterday’s morning and afternoon peak, slowing traffic and forcing additional passengers onto the BTS.

Traffic in the Wattana business district was also crawling yesterday morning as both cars and foot traffic had to wade through the draining waters.

Passenger taxi boats in the east-west running Saen Saeb canal were also suspended with the water level rising so much that the boats were unable to pass under some of the lower bridges. The service was resumed later on Thursday.

Classes were suspended at the Ramkhamhaeng University, including the Ramkhamhaeng and Bang Na campuses.

Flooding isn’t new to Bangkok with each year promises made to ’solve’ the low-lying city’s long-term water inundation challenges. Apart from slowly rising levels of rain each year, the city is also slowly sinking into the Chao Phraya-delta mud. Bangkok, averaging only .5–2 metres above sea level, is sinking at a rate of 2–3 centimetres each year.

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Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.