Rescuers fighting to save the soccer team trapped in a Thai cave network are about to face an even harder task, as monsoon season approaches the region in earnest with at least a week of daily rainstorms.
The province of Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, is forecast to be hit by a mixture of thunderstorms and heavy rain for at least the next five days, according to the Thai Meteorological Department.
Data from weather.com for the region shows rain and thunderstorms for eight days:
The weather forecast for Chiang Rai, Thailand, as of July 6, 2018.
Weather.com via Google
Thailand’s monsoon typically begins in July and lasts through October, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization told Business Insider.
Rain is expected to rain almost every day in July and August, the organization’s website said.
CNN’s estimates suggest that the rainfall could start relatively modest, before reaching a high of 11mm per day on Monday.
A screengrab of a video, posted by the Thai Navy SEALs, of the stranded soccer team.
Royal Thai Navy Facebook Page via AP
The influx of rain would further fill up passageways in the Tham Luang cave network, which are already partially flooded, Sky News reported on Friday.
Rescuers and volunteers in the region have been pumping water out of the cave in an effort to clear the passageways. As of late Tuesday, about 120 million liters of water have been pumped out of the cave.
A sudden influx of water would reverse those efforts.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters on Thursday, according to CNN: “In the previous days we were fighting with time. And now we are working against water.”
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
The tunnel where the group is stranded is some 1,000 meters underground, and so dark and inundated with debris that some routes have zero visibility.
The boys are currently learning how to swim and scuba dive because some parts of the cave are too narrow for more than one person to pass.
Rescuers work on the water pumping machine at the entrance of the cave network on July 2.
Oxygen levels in the cave have also dropped during the rescue effort, with Thailand’s Navy SEAL commander warning of a “limited amount of time” to rescue the 12 boys and their coach.
Saman Kuman, a 38-year-old former Thai SEAL who volunteered to help the rescue efforts, died from a lack of oxygen on Friday while delivering oxygen tanks to the cave.
The soccer team, named Wild Boar, has been trapped there since June 23.