Chiang Mai hailstorm brings down power poles and billboards

Photo by Department of Disaster Prevention via Matichon.

A hailstorm in Chiang Mai brought down power poles and billboards yesterday. Hailstones were reportedly the size of baht coins. According to Matichon, the entire downtown area was covered with hailstones as the rain continued to fall.

The strong winds started around 3.30 pm, followed by a downpour of hailstones and rain, and then another wave of hail.

Locals and foreigners living in Chiang Mai’s Nimmanhaemin area rushed out to see the unusual phenomenon, with the roads turning white with hail. The spectators all said they were surprised because this weather was not seen in Chiang Mai for a long time. One man said the last time he saw a heavy storm accompanied by hail was decades ago when he was a child.

Netizens shared video clips and photos showing the damage caused by the storm. Hailstones smashed into several houses, and many roofs were ripped open. Power poles that were just installed one to two years ago collapsed over a distance of a kilometre. A broken lamppost had also crashed on a car, trapping four people inside. Billboards were toppled, and a tree fell on a house, injuring its occupants.

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The Mae Jo Municipal Rescue Centre later announced that their volunteers had removed a roof that had landed at the Ruamchok-Mae Khao intersection and was obstructing traffic. They also rescued a bedridden woman after a tree fell on her house and took her to the hospital.

The Thai Meteorological Department reported that a heat low-pressure cell currently covers upper Thailand, accompanied by southerly and southeasterly winds. The weather is hot and hazy during the day, and isolated thunderstorms are likely. At the same time, easterly and southeasterly winds prevail over the Gulf of Thailand, the South, and the Andaman Sea, with isolated thunderstorms in the South too.

Last week, a hailstorm in Thailand forced a flight headed to the northern Nan province to divert to Chiang Mai airport. Thai AirAsia flight FD9122 from Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok to Nan province in northern Thailand diverted to Chiang Mai Airport after getting caught in the storm.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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