Reading about wet weather and floods | Bangkok Post: learning

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Reading about wet weather and floods

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With widespread heavy rain hitting our area today and more on the way, it is a good time to brush up on our wet-weather vocabulary. You will see many of these words in upcoming news reports. 

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Apichit Jinakul's award-winning photograph showing a taxi battling through a a heavily-inundated Khlong 7 Road in Pathum Thani on Oct 29, 2011.

The Meteorological Department is warning that a low pressure cell is likely to cause torrential rain and isolated wind gusts for a large number of eastern, northeastern and central provinces. If you have looked out the window this morning, you will know that includes Bangkok.

With a typhoon to the east of the Phillipines and likely to move into the South China sea, this seems like a good time to brush up on our flood-related vocabulary.

The following comes from my book "Thailand submerged," published by Post Books, which covered the devastating 2011 floods. Fortunately, no one is predicting a repeat of that disaster for this year, but we will still see many of these flood-related words in news reports over the next few days.

A submerged/inundated/swamped car. PONGPAT WONGYALA

Flood basics in pictures

Flood, inundate, submerge, swamp, deluge

The most basic word of all, of course, is flood, both its noun and verb forms. As a verb, you will find three common synonyms for flood: inundate, submerge and swamp. All mean to cover with water, but submerge tends to cover completely or almost completely. In the first photo, the road is completely submerged and the cars are virtually submerged. The land is inundated, or “swamped”, if you prefer. As for the noun form of flood, the most common synonym is inundation.

An aerial view of the deluge. A good illustration of the word "impassable," e.g., "the roads were impassable because of the floods". THITI WANNAMONTHA

The great flood of 2011 was so massive it was often referred to as a deluge, a huge mass of water that seemed impossible to contain. Low-lying areas were completely inundated, fields submerged and huge areas of rice-growing lands looked like a giant swamp or a large lake.

Wat Chai Watthanaram under water after the Chao Phraya river burst its banks in 2011. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

Run-off, swell, swollen, level, overflow, burst banks
Heavy rains cause run-off, water that cannot be taken in naturally by the soil. When the run-off enters waterways, they swell – their water level increases to a point where flooding occurs. Swollen waterways then go over the sides, i.e., they overflow or burst their banks.

A raging current sweeps through the edge of an industrial estate. PATTARACHAI PREECCHAPANICH

Flow, upstream, downstream, current, torrent, raging current, breach, barrier, gush, creep, seep
Water flows (moves) from high to low – from upstream areas to downstream areas. This flow is known as the current and during a flood it can be so strong that the adjective raging (angry) is often used to describe it. And when things get out of control, the raging current is often described as a torrent. When flood water breaks through (breaches) a barrier like a flood wall, it gushes through under great pressure. But floodwater can also move slowly, creeping gradually into new areas or seeping slowly through small holes.

An impressive set of drainage equipment at a flooded industrial estate in 2011. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

Release, discharge, channel, funnel, drain, check dam, weir, dyke, embankment, reinforce

Officials in charge of flood control try to contain the waters as best they can, releasing (or discharging) water from dams before the rains come, channeling (or funneling) water away from populated areas, and draining water from areas that do get flooded. They have a whole system of defences ranging from small barriers like check dams and weirs, to much larger dykes and embankments. Sandbags are seen everywhere, reinforcing (strengthening) existing barriers or becoming dykes in themselves.

Flood evacuees at a government-run shelter wait out the floods in 2011. PATTARACHAI PREECCHAPANICH

Victim, evacuate, belongings, possessions, makeshift, wade, shelter, temporary, accommodations
The saddest sight is the flood victims evacuating (leaving) their homes, carrying their belongings (possessions, things they own) in makeshift boats, or wading through the flood water, carrying children and possessions. The evacuees try to find shelter in the homes of relatives or in temporary (short-time) accommodations set up by the government.

Little is left of a house after a devastating mudslide in 2011. BOONNUM KERDKAEW

Landslide, mudslide, destruction, sweep away, impassable, collapse, strand, residents, relief operation, deploy, volunteer, community
Continuous heavy rain causes floods and, in hilly and mountainous areas, landslides and and mudslides as well, causing death and destruction. Villages can can be swept away in an instant. Roads become impassable, bridges collapse, stranding residents who were unable to evacuate.  The relief operation to help the victims must begin immediately, so army troops are usually deployed (brought in to work), but volunteers (people who work willingly for free) from the community and elsewhere play important roles too.

Soldiers help residents cross a flooded waterway. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

Learn from listening

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accommodation: a place for someone to stay, live, or work - ที่พัก

aerial: (of a photograph) from a plane or helicopter - ภาพถ่ายทางอากาศ

barrier: a wall, pile of sandbags, etc., that prevents water from entering - สิ่งกีดขวาง

belongings: the things you own - ข้าวของเครื่องใช้

breach: a break through or over something - รอยแตก, การข้าม, การทำให้แตก

brush up on: to quickly improve a skill, especially when you have not used it for a time; to review - ปรับปรุง, ทบทวน

burst its banks (of a river): to flood; to have water go over the sides - ล้นตลิ่ง

channel: to carry or send water, light, etc. through a passage - ทำให้ไหลไปตามช่อง

check dam: a small dam, which can be either temporary or permanent, built across a small waterway - เขื่อนเล็ก

collapse: to fall down suddenly - พังลงมา  ล้ม, พังครืน

community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน

contain: to prevent from spreading; to keep within limits - จำกัด,ควบคุมไว้

creep: to move or develop very slowly - เคลื่อนที่อย่างช้าๆ

current: a strong movement of water in one direction - กระแสน้ำ

defences: the particular structures, weapons, and people that are used for protecting a place - การป้องกัน,การต้านการรุกราน

deluge: a sudden flow of a large amount of water; a sudden, very heavy rainfall - น้ำปริมาณมาก ฝนตกหนัก

deploy: (of soldiers, police, etc.) to put in place ready for action - ส่งทหารตำรวจเข้าประจำการ

destruction: when something is destroyed - การทำลาย, ภาวะที่ถูกทำลาย

devastating: damaging badly or destroying - ทำลายล้าง

disaster: an unexpected event, such as a very bad accident, a flood or a fire, that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage - ภัยพิบัติ ความหายนะ

discharge: to let a liquid flow out - ปล่อยออก, ขับออก

downstream: in the direction that a river or stream is flowing - ตามกระแสน้ำ

drainage: the process of taking away of water or other liquids from an area - การระบายน้ำ

dyke: a wall built to prevent the sea, river of flood water from covering an area - คันกั้นน้ำ, เขื่อนกั้นน้ำ

embankment: a slope made of earth or stone that rises up from either side of a road, railway/railroad, river, etc. - มูลดิน,ตลิ่งทาง

evacuate: to leave a place because it is not safe - อพยพออกจากพื้นที่

evacuee: a person who leaves a place of danger - ผู้อพยพ

flow: (of a liquid) to move continuously in one direction - ไหล

fortunately: used for emphasizing that something good has happened, especially because of good luck - อย่างโชคดี, อย่างเคราะห์ดี

funnel: to move or make something move through a narrow space, or as if through a funnel - ผันน้ำ, ผลักน้ำ

gush: (of a liquid) to flow quickly and in large quantities - พุ่ง, ไหลออก

gust: a sudden strong increase in the amount and speed of wind that is blowing - ลมพัดแรงทันที

impassable: of a road or path that cannot be travelled on because it is blocked or because of bad weather conditions - ซึ่งผ่านไปไม่ได้

industrial estate: an area of land where industrial companies have their buildings - นิคมอุตสาหกรรม

instant: immediate - ทันที

inundated: flooded - ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ

isolated: set apart from; disconnected from - แยกออกมา ตั้งอยู่เดี่ยวๆ

landslide: a mass of rock and earth moving suddenly and quickly down a steep slope - แผ่นดินถล่ม

level: the amount of liquid that there is in a container, river, dam, etc., which can be seen by how high the liquid is - ระดับ

low pressure system: low pressure cell, an area where the pressure of the air is lower than that of the area surrounding it - หย่อมความกดอากาศกำลังแรง

makeshift: using whatever is available and therefore not very good - สำหรับใช้ชั่วคราว, ใช้ประทังไปก่อน

mass: a large amount of something - ปริมาณมาก

massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต

Meteorological Department: the government department in charge of determining what the weather will be in the future - กรมอุตุนิยมวิทยา

mudslide: a large amount of mud sliding down a mountain, often destroying buildings and injuring or killing people below - ทะเลโคลนที่มาจากภูเขาทำลายบ้านเรือนและผู้คน

operation: a planned activity involving a lot of people, especially soldiers or police officers - การปฏิบัติการ

overflow: (of a river or body of water) to flood the land next to it - เอ่อล้น, ไหลล้น

populated: having large numbers of people living there - มีผู้คนจำนวนมากอาศัยอยู่ที่นั่น

possessions: things owned - ทรัพย์สมบัติ

predict: to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience - คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า

pressure: a force pressing against something - ความกดดัน

raging: happening with a lot of force or violence - รุนแรงมาก

reinforce: to make stronger - เสริมให้แข็งแรงขึ้น

release: to let something move freely; to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere - ปล่อย

relief: help; assistance - การช่วยให้พ้นภัย

resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่

role: the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation - บทบาท

run-off: rain, water or other liquid that runs off land into streams and rivers - น้ำหลาก

seep: (of a liquid) to flow slowly and in small quantities through something - รั่วซึม

shelter: a place where people are protected from danger or bad weather; a temporary place to stay - ที่หลบภัย  ที่พักชั่วคราว

soil: the substance on the surface of the Earth in which plants grow - ดิน

strand: to leave someone somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้

submerged: under water - จมน้ำ อยู่ใต้น้ำ

swamp: to cover a place or thing with a large amount of water - ทำให้ท่วม, ทำให้จมอยู่ในน้ำ

sweep: to move or spread quickly through an area; to move something or someone with powerful force - เคลื่อนไปอย่างรวดเร็ว, พัดพาเอาไป

sweep away: to destroy or to completely remove something - พัดพาไป (ตามลมหรือน้ำ)

swell: to become or cause to become larger than normal - บวม, ทำให้บวม, ทำให้พอง

swollen: larger or fuller than normal - ขยายใหญ่,พองตัว,บวม

synonym: a word or expression that has the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the same language - คำพ้องความหมาย, คำที่มีความหมายเหมือนกันหรือใกล้เคียงกัน

temporary: done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent - ชั่วคราว

torrent: a large amount of water flowing rapidly and violently; a large of amount of something that is suddenly released - กระแสน้ำเชี่ยว,การไหลพุ่

torrential rain: extremely heavy rain - ฝนไหลเชี่ยว

troops: soldiers, especially in large numbers - กองทหาร

typhoon: a tropical storm with strong winds that move in circles - พายุไต้ฝุ่น

upstream: along a river, in the opposite direction to which the river is flowing - ต้นน้ำ

victim: someone who has been affected by a bad situation, such as a disaster, illness or an accident - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย

volunteer: someone who is not paid for the work that they do - อาสาสมัคร

wade: to walk with an effort through something, especially water or mud - ลุย เดินท่องน้ำ หรือ โคลน

weir: a low wall or barrier built across a river in order to control the flow of water or change its direction - เขื่อนเล็กๆ, ทำนบ

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