Thailand flooding update October 28, 2011: Minor flooding hits Grand Palace and outer reaches of Sukhumvit Rd.

Here’s the latest as of 10:30 p.m. Bangkok time today, Fri., October 28, 2011:

Summary

  • Flooding today hit downtown Bangkok’s Grand Palace and, briefly, the outer reaches of Sukhumvit Rd.’s Pra Khanong area.
  • It is still unclear, however, whether more of central Bangkok will be affected.

New maps

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has some new, highly detailed satellite images of the areas north of Bangkok.

You can find the files online here. (Note: The files are large.)

Below is a screen capture of part of one map:

2011 10 28 bkk flooding sat images

News reports

The AP reports:

Saffron-robed monks and soldiers piled sandbags outside Bangkok’s most treasured temples and palaces Friday as Thailand’s worst floods in decades sent ankle-high water rushing briefly into some of the capital’s main tourist districts.

High tides expected to peak on Saturday will be one of the biggest tests yet of Bangkok’s anti-flood defenses. For days, the city’s main Chao Phraya river has spilled its banks, forcing water into riverside streets from Chinatown to the white-walled royal Grand Palace and the neighboring Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

And:

New flooding was reported Friday in the city’s southeast when a canal overflowed in a neighborhood on the outer parts of Sukhumvit Road. And high tides briefly touched riverside areas closer to the city’s central business districts of Silom and Sathorn.

The NYT says:

The main river in Thailand’s capital swelled to a record high on Friday, spilling over its banks and sending water rippling into the grounds of the Grand Palace, with its temples and gilded spires, the city’s primary historical monument.

The amount of water entering the palace grounds was small, but the breach was symbolically significant as Bangkok enters a crucial period when high tides to the south are pushing back at runoff from the north that has breached the city’s outer defenses and is now flooding some outlying districts.

Bloomberg has this:

Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river swelled to a record high, swamping nearby tourist spots including the Grand Palace as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called for fresh ideas to stem the country’s worst floods since 1942.

And:

The government is considering cutting channels through five major Bangkok roads to drain floodwaters seeping into northern parts of the capital as a high tide threatens riverside communities. The roads, in the city’s east, are blocking water from reaching canals that drain into the Gulf of Thailand, Transport Minister Sukumpol Suwannatat said.

The WSJ‘s Southeast Asia Real Time reports:

Bangkok residents are continuing to grapple with shortages of water, bread and other basic necessities – and it might not get better anytime soon.

Retailers like 7-11, Tesco and Big C all rely on giant distribution centers to warehouse their goods, and many of them happen to be located in the heart of the flood zone, just north of Bangkok’s city limits.

The NBC News’s World Blog has a post about the mood here in Bangkok:

Bangkok on Thursday is rather like a slow motion disaster movie. But the bickering cast can’t quite agree on how its going to end. They keep putting up the end titles, only to follow with another, grimmer, scene.

There’s no continuity. If I were in a cinema, I’d walk right out.

Reuters has this story:

Traffic clogged roads out of the Thai capital on Friday as tens of thousands of people fled ahead of a high tide expected to worsen floods that have inundated factories and prompted foreign governments to warn their citizens to stay away.

Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River is expected to burst its banks over the weekend during the unusually high tide that begins on Friday, causing some flooding in nearby areas. Buildings across Bangkok have been sand-bagged for protection, and some vulnerable streets were nearly deserted.

Travel advice

Once again, I can’t answer emails and tweets asking for travel tips since things change quickly and no one can predict precisely what will happen in the days ahead.

However, I suggest travelers check out this CNNGo go piece with info for tourists.

The standard reminders:

Stay tuned for more.