Tropical Storm Gaemi - in like a lion, out like a lamb
Whilst Pattaya braced for the arrival of Tropical Storm Gaemi, as it turns out, only the leading edge of the storm caused any damage.
The leading edge of Tropical Storm Gaemi packed a major punch, causing floods throughout Pattaya. Here, a tourist tries to evacuate his motorcycle from Soi Marine Plaza just off Waling Street late Friday night / early Saturday morning. But as the entire kingdom battened down the hatches, expecting the worst, the storm lost strength over land and fizzled as it passed overhead.
The Thai Meteorological Department began warning people in the area Oct. 4 that the storm had a maximum wind speed of 80 km per hour, and was moving west at 25 kph when it arrived on Vietnamese shores that evening.
The department warned that the storm was expected to last in the area Oct. 6, 7 & 8, when it was predicted to cause heavy rains and strong winds in many provinces in the east, lower northeast and central parts of the country.
Sometimes the worst part of flooding is the mud and debris it leaves behind.
The rain began falling in Pattaya around 11 p.m. Oct. 5, with four hours of downpour and, of course, flooding. Areas from Beach Road to Soi Buakaow, and from South Pattaya to Sukhumvit Road were affected.
Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai said Oct. 6 that preparations were made to handle the flooding, with residents in at-risk areas advised to relocate valuables and pets. Flash flood and landslide warnings were issued.
Rayong Gov. Wichit Chatpaisit said he informed sub-district mayors, police and other government officials to inform residents of the ongoing situation. Each area made preparations to help residents mitigate exposure to the storm and fishing boats were brought in.
Sattahip Mayor Phawat Lertmukda said authorities warned coastal fishermen to dock at local piers shielded from wind and waves.
Chonburi Marine Department Director Pisut Amornyuth said boat operators were warned to take extreme caution and prepare equipment including lifeboats and other emergency aids.
Passenger boats crossing between Koh Loi in Sriracha and Koh Srichang, were warned to navigate carefully and use lights during low visibility. In cases where waves make it impossible for operators to navigate, they were advised to anchor in a sheltered area.
Chetsada Ditman, head of the Prasae Maintenance project, said the Prasae Reservoir can store 248 million cu meters of water and is at no risk of overflowing.
People were invited to monitor the situation at WaterForThai.com (Thai language), and report flooding and request help form the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department at 038-272-814-5 or dial 1784.
Other helpful (English language) web sites, for future reference, include http://www.accuweather.com/en/th/national/satellite for current satellite images and/or http://www.tmd.go.th/en/province.php?id=61 for local information.
Expect rain to continue
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gaemi marked only the beginning of at least two weeks of wet and story weather expected to hit Pattaya.
The Pattaya Meteorological Department is warning residents and tourists that heavy rainfall is expected to last another two-to-three weeks as storms flow over the country from the Pacific Ocean over Vietnam and Cambodia. Waves offshore could reach 3 meters while the chance of rain onshore will range between 60-90 percent daily.
Department Spokesman Jaruwat Srichaowana advised tourists planning visits to Pattaya to monitor the weather closely, especially if planning to use boats.
The rainy season typically wanes after the third week in October.