Monday, September 24, 2012

Flooding: A year later

Last year on this day I posted comparison photos of the water level of the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh, showing a dramatic rise in the level between September 17 and September 24. Though there wasn't any flooding in Phnom Penh at the time, flooding was sweeping other parts of the country and getting worse by the day. The rapidly rising river in Phnom Penh hinted the capital city might be next.

This year is quite different. The rain has been much lighter and the rivers not filling as quickly as last year. There were near drought conditions in several provinces in the first months of this monsoon season, and though the rains have increased in recent weeks and there has been flooding in some western provinces, there is no comparison to last year. So far, 2012 is proving to be a comparatively dry year in Cambodia. Still, there is at least 6 weeks left in this year's monsoon season, there has been flooding in neighboring Thailand, and as last year's photos illustrate flood conditions can change quickly.

The photos below were taken from approximately the same spot on the Phnom Penh riverfront (Tonle Sap River,) exactly one year apart: 2011 on the left and 2012 on the right.

 River level comparison 2011/2012. Phnom Penh riverfront, Tonle Sap River. (Note the stair steps, particularly in the Sept 24 photos - 2 visible in 2011, 16+ visible in 2012.)

Today's observed water level of the Tonle Sap River at the Phnom Penh Port from the Mekong River Commission. See MRC Cambodia flood info at: MRC Cambodia

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