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Water laps across the tarmac at Don Muang Airport after a second storm

UPDATE Storms Delay, Divert 108 Flights at Bangkok's Airports

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Updating All Day, Every Day

A TOTAL of 108 flights were grounded, delayed or diverted at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Muang Airport with the heaviest period of downpour between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, according to officials in the capital.

Original Report

PHUKET: Waves splashed by vehicles lapped the wheels of jets at Bangkok's Don Muang Airport as a second freak storm lashed the capital overnight.

The storm - second in days - is likely to add to the ire of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha who blasted City Hall for being too slow in handling flooding brought by heavy rain on Tuesday.

The storm slowed Bangkok traffic to a crawl. Black water filled roads and lanes in some parts of the city.

Before the second overnight downpour, the Prime Minister ordered the Interior Ministry and City Hall to find out what caused the water to build up and to prevent the problem reoccurring.

Bangkok residents say storms are normal in late April or May but seldom occur in March.

PM Prayuth slammed City Hall for not stepping up preventive measures before the heavy rains but according to the Bangkok Post, Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra reponded: ''Bangkok is a river city and we have to deal with floods from time to time. Go and live in the mountains if you want to be free of floods.''

Residents of Patong on Phuket would have been familiar with the sight of commuters wading through water.

It took between one and two hours to drain the inundated areas, except for Asok intersection, a low-lying area that took three hours to drain, the governor told the Post.

Phuketwan reporters Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison were delayed but not prevented from reaching the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they were greeted by the Minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn.

Talks followed with the Director General of the Department of American and South Pacific Affairs, Songsak Saicheua, and the Australian Ambassador, Paul Robilliard.

How Bangkok Vanished Under Water: Photo Special


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Hahahaha, and it is not even yet the 'wet season'. Guess it would be good if Prime Minister orders to investigate what was done since last year flooding to make this year no flooding. It is pathetic that a few hours of rain already can show BKK as what we see on photos.
Prime Minister should order foreign water management experts coming in to advice.
Minf you, a country as The Netherlands, 50 % of the country below sea level keeps dry feet. Amsterdan Airport, 5 meters below sea level, built on the bottom of a former lake, it is always dry. That Don Muang airport can not remain dry by now is a shame. In BKK they know exactly why Don Muang airport is yearly under water after a bit of rain. What was done since last time to make Don Muang this year will remain dry?? I do understand that the prime minister is angry. Some BKK authorities have to fear now to pay for their incompetence about lack of water management. Water management is a profession!

Posted by Kurt on March 26, 2015 10:09

Editor Comment:

THere are probably drain-clearing processes that have not been carried out yet because the rains are not expected so early.


I can remember when Suvarnabhumi Airport opened with all its 'teething problems' that a General was charged with making it one of the world's top 10 airports.

For it to be shut down due to a couple of days freak weather outside of rainy season beggars belief.

Not even close to being top anything!

Posted by Logic on March 26, 2015 13:27

Editor Comment:

Shut down? Exaggerations are not helpful, Logic. Please name an airport anywhere that isn't affected at times by bad weather.


Come on, Mr Editor, with respect, but drain clearing works should be done 365 days of the year. City section by city section. It has to do with keeping up drains clean, not with waiting for when you expect the rains. By experience, year after year, (YES?) that waiting is always to late!
Why always late, and never early? Why not ANTICIPATING? There is never snow or icing or that heavy rain ( like 5 meter below sea level Amsterdam Airport). In BKK, just 2 hours of rain is world news, pathetic. I understand why thai prime Minister is angry. it is not even wet season. High water now in BKK and airports shows incompetence. No advance preparation, Just like that.

Posted by Kurt on March 26, 2015 15:20

Editor Comment:

What it shows is inadequate drainage. Whether that's incompetence or too many plastic bags remains to be established. But don't let me stop you from guessing.


@ Logic, I can help you in your 'defence'
Amsterdam Airport is built on the bottom of a sea, everything is now 5 meters below sea level! Heavy rains, snow, icing, nothing stops that airport being operational! Why? Good water management to keep airport dry, good machineries and professional trained staff to fight icing during winter days in order to make aircrafts can depart safe. "Probably" and "not expected" are not the valid management terms for a Thai airport.

Posted by Kurt on March 26, 2015 15:27


Heavy rain often forces airport closures around the world. Reason is rarely the amount of water on the runway / tarmac but rather weather minimums not being met. Mainly visibility but heavy rainstorms also often bring strong winds and wind shear.

Most aircraft cannot land in more than 30 to 35kts crosswind. Since both runways at BKK run North/South (01/19 L/R), strong winds from east or west alone may already cause airport closure.

Runways are supposed to be grooved for better water drainage and rubber residue is periodically removed from runways, also aiming to keep the friction coefficient within safe limits.

What was a world first for a major airport was the closure of the ATC tower at Suvarnabhumi for over 1hr some time ago when water seeped into it's power supply and the backup power failed to kick in.

Thai DCA (Dept of Civil Aviation) is currently under investigation for safety breaches after failing the ICAO audit. Not all details have been made public yet but perhaps rainwater drainage is among the issues of concern.

Thai DCA still has about 60 days to file their official response before ICAO will decide what action, if any, it will take.

Posted by Herbert on March 26, 2015 16:09


I need to make a correction to my previous post - I should have said "can cause flights to be diverted"

The closure of airport (operations) is far more serious, forcing all inbound aircraft to divert to their alternate airports.

Such action will result in the issuance of a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) and though I did not check, I have not seen any news about such being issued.

The difference is that if an airport is still open, flight crew may opt to make an approach in the hope that weather minimums could be met. They can do so until they reach what is called MAP (Missed Approach Point.

In a closure no such attempts are allowed.

As far as I understand, BKK was not closed but weather caused countless diversions.

Would be interesting to know how many missed approaches there were and if departing aircraft could do so or ended up in RTO (Rejected Takeoff).

NOTAMs are difficult to read for a layman but if someone is interested, you can find those issued for Thailand over here

Posted by Herbert on March 26, 2015 17:28

Editor Comment:

There is no suggestion that landings or takeoffs were attempted in the bad weather and failed, Herbert. Perhaps you should settle for reliable information.


RTO and TOGA are quite common procedures and pose no risk, other than financial consequences.

Thus it was not an implication to safety having been compromised.

To find out how many, if any, aborted approaches or rejected takeoffs there were, one would have to look at individual flight radar data which is just too much work for me to be bothered.

All I'm saying is that what happened is business as usual and nothing to be worried about. A diverted flight is always a safer alternative than an attempt to land below minimums.

IMO the whole incident is a tempest in a teacup.

Posted by Herbert on March 26, 2015 21:08

Editor Comment:

Indeed, too much work for you to be bothered. So it's guesswork . . . hardly fair. The only person who has made more of it than should be made is you.


Alan, as much as I respect you for what you and your staff at PW do, you are a mean old man who just can't get through a day without throwing out the best insult you can.

I provided useful and relevant information on the subject and what do you do ?

Spit in my face. For what ?

Feel better now ?

Posted by Herbert on March 26, 2015 22:14

Editor Comment:

You insult us all. The information you've added in this case is flawed because you speculate without knowing. Don't you get it? Guesswork is worthless. You guess about my attitude and you get that wrong, too.


Grooves on runways are not for general drainage, their purpose is to decrease the surface area contact between a wheel and tarmac allowing the tyre to compress into the groove and provide additional resistance due to sheer strength of the the rubber. In wet weather they will allow release of water from the tyre to tarmac contact point.
A coefficient of friction between 2 materials does not vary by changing surface roughness, only the surface area having direct contact changes.
If anything, these grooves retard surface water removal and flow by creating an increase in depth of the water to Tarmac boundary layer.

Posted by Manowar on March 27, 2015 05:02


It is selfish to have a dummy spitting contest without opponents when there are so many of us on PW that could challenge you for the title.

Posted by Manowar on March 27, 2015 07:32

Editor Comment:

A spat is ok but let's leave it at that. Herbert, you confuse the real world with the unreal online world.


@ manowar...Runway 'grooving' was developed first and foremost for water removal, ie remove normal surface water during rain to prevent hydroplaning, which it does very effectively. Dry runway improved braking distances was just a[beneficial]by product of this grooving. Your last paragraph may be correct in 'flooding' situations.

Posted by garyj on March 27, 2015 09:46


The benefit achieved by grooving of dry runways is exactly the same achieved on wet runways. It removes the reliance of friction generated between 2 surfaces as the only means of stopping. In wet weather and once water is introduced between the 2 surfaces in contact, the stopping ability becomes dependent upon speed, surface contact area, viscosity and fluid film depth. As these vary due to the smallest undulation, water ponding would occur causing constant variation in stopping ability.
Of course they will provide benefit to assist with braking but both in wet and dry conditions, this advantage is due to a tyres elasticity being able mesh or compress into the groove due to the imposed load and remove full reliance upon friction lost by the introduction of fluid to the point or area of contact.

Posted by Manowar on March 27, 2015 12:38

Editor Comment:

I see . . .

Wednesday January 20, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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