BANGKOK, Thailand – Bangkok is bracing for the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Gaemi, which hit Vietnam yesterday and is likely to affect many Thai provinces, including the capital, from today.
The Meteorological Department said yesterday that the storm had a maximum wind speed near the centre of 80 kilometres per hour and was moving west at 25 kph when it arrived on Vietnamese shores yesterday evening.
The department said the storm was expected to arrive in Thailand today, when it will cause heavy rains and strong winds in many provinces of the East, lower Northeast and Central parts of the country, according to the weather-forecasting agency.
Provinces in the West and the South of Thailand were likely to be affected tomorrow and on Tuesday, it said.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has set up 10 operation centres as part of measures to tackle the flood threat from storm Gaemi, while the Water and Flood Management Commission urged the Thai public not to panic because main rivers were able to handle the expected heavy rains.
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra presided over a meeting of city executives and related agencies on the likely impact from Gaemi at the BMA Drainage Office yesterday morning. Although the storm shouldn’t strike Bangkok directly, it would bring rain to the capital, Sukhumbhand said. The BMA Drainage Office has set up operation centres at 10 sites to tackle possible storms and rain.
They are at the Thupathemi Stadium; under the Lat Phrao overpass at Pradit Manutham Road; opposite Greenspot Drinks Factory on Sri Nakarin Road; at Pongphetch market on Ngam Wong Wan Road; at the Royal Plaza; at the Hong Kong-Penang Market; at a PTT gas station on outbound Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road; at the Bang Khunthien Chai Talae Road junction with Rama II Road; at the Phetkasem Road junction with Kanchanaphisek Road; and at Siriraj Hospital on Prannok Road.
The Drainage Office also installed 284 mobile water pumps at various places and added 11 more water-pushing machines at Klong Lat Phrao, Klong Bang Khen, Klong Premprachakorn and Klong Saen Saeb.
They also placed 29 water-pushing boats at Klong Thawee Wattana, Klong Phraya Ratchamontri, Klong Song, Klong Lat Phrao and Klong Bang Khen, while releasing water from key canals such as Klong Ong Ang, Klong Bang Lamphu, Beuang Pibulwattana, Beung Makkasan and Beung Nong Bon.
The BMA also obtained 50 water pumps from the Mineral Resources Department to install at sluice gates and drainage stations and 22 water-pushing boats from the Royal Thai Navy to place at key canals. The Klong Thawee Wattana sluice gate would be 40cm-ajar and the Min Buri sluice gate 50cm-ajar to help Pathum Thani residents better handle possible floods, Sukhumbhand said.
City administrators have also updated its websites for people to follow weather conditions
and the flood situation at: http://bkkfloodwatch.go.th/ or http://dds.bangkok.go.th/ and opened 20 phone lines at 02 248 5115 to provide information and flood reports around the clock.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Water and Flood Management Commission’s sub-committee on water situation analysis, Royol Chitradon, said earlier yesterday on the weekly TV and radio show “Yingluck’s Government Meets the People” that Tropical Storm Gaemi would hit Thailand tomorrow or Tuesday, causing heavy rain in Rayong, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri and Bangkok.
The storm would then intensify as it moves to the Gulf of Thailand, leading to heavy rainfall in Phetchaburi and Ratchaburi tomorrow through till Wednesday, he added.
Royol said a joint operation centre was set up to monitor the situation in Bangkok. Water-pushing boats have been placed in major canals and water pumps also installed to drain water into canals on the west and east sides of the capital, he said, adding that the drainage of water in Bangkok had improved. He believed authorities could control the situation in Bangkok.
In Kanchanaburi, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) increased the amount of water released from Sri Nakarin and Vajiralongkorn dams from 10 million cubic metres to 20 million cubic metres on Friday, to make way for the expected rainwater. Meanwhile, Nakhon Ratchasima’s Lam Phra Ploeng Dam was at 92 per cent of its capacity. Officials there affirmed they could still support storm-triggered rainwater and said the storm would bring the water level at the province’s reservoirs up in preparation for the dry season.