Thailand Swamped by Monsoon Flooding

Thailand Swamped by Monsoon Flooding
Thailand Swamped by Monsoon Flooding

Persistent rain in mid-October 2021 brought more flooding to central and northeastern Thailand, where rivers and reservoirs were already running high. According to the Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, 32 of the country’s 76 provinces have been affected by flooding during a monsoon season that has brought heavy rains for nearly a month.

In late September and early October, Tropical Storm Dianmu inundated the region, leading to flash flooding and the activation of the International Disaster Charter. Tropical Storm Kompasu followed, bringing more heavy rain to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.

In early October, historical sites in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, home to many temples and ruins, were flooded by the Chao Phraya River. The State Railway of Thailand also temporarily suspended some northern train routes.

Heavy monsoon rains in mid-October triggered landslides and kept rivers and lakes overflowing their banks. The flooding was exacerbated on October 18 when officials had to release water from the Krasiao Reservoir, about 150 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Bangkok. That same day, the 1,300-year-old reclining Buddha at Wat Dhammachakra Sema Ram—the country’s oldest and longest such statue—was also inundated.

In these false-color images of the region north of Bangkok, water appears dark blue; saturated soil is light blue; vegetation is bright green; bare ground is tan; and clouds are white or turquoise. The images were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on October 20, 2021, and October 19, 2019.

Between September 27 and October 19, 2021, more than 13,600 square kilometers of the country were inundated and an estimated 1.3 million people were affected by the flooding, according to the Thailand Flood Monitoring Dashboard (from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency).

NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Story by Sara E. Pratt.

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