A brutal Friday for commuters laid to rest any notion of a “new normal” for Bangkok traffic, with pounding rainstorms during the morning and evening rush hours making the holiday-getaway day hell on the roads.
It started before dawn as up to 85 millimeters of rain fell, transforming roads across the capital into shallow canals. Floods didn’t discriminate, inundating Wattana, Khlong Toei, Pathum Wan and Huai Khwang districts, gridlocking traffic, stalling vehicles and inciting accidents.
Sunshine broke through around 9 a.m., leaving Bangkokians wet, weary and ready for a four-day King’s Birthday weekend. But Mother Nature wasn’t done, unleashing a second monster storm right as work let out and motorists headed out of town.
Traffic again came to a standstill from the Asok intersection to Chaeng Nonthaburi, with the northern suburbs taking the worst of it. Traffic came to a standstill on Chaeng Watthana, Phahonyothin and Vibhavadi roads, from Don Muang airport to National Stadium to Future Park Rangsit.
Supsri Bunwong, a motorcycle taxi driver in Nonthaburi’s Khu Khot Subdistrict, said he makes most his money during the evening rush, but he could neither get to stranded passengers or go anywhere without a boat if he did reach them.
Heavy rain is forecast again for today and throughout the week, losing steam by Thursday. Nationwide, storms are expected to lash the North and South through Wednesday, driven by a strengthened southwesterly monsoon.