Phuket flight turbulence: Rainstorm forces diversions amid deluge

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

Fourteen flights bound for Phuket were forced to divert to alternative airports as a deluge of rain battered the popular resort island, causing widespread flooding.

Phuket Airport Director Monchai Tanod confirmed that although the airport itself remained dry, visibility plummeted to dangerously low levels between 7am and 9am, today, July 2.

“Pilots simply couldn’t see the runway.”

Flights had to be diverted to airports in Surat Thani, Krabi, Bangkok, Penang, and Langkawi.

Passengers set to depart from Phuket faced significant delays, with the airport’s public relations office advising them to brace for extended waits until weather conditions improve.

Provincial Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office chief Sophon Thongsai reported that nearly the entire island was submerged this morning, with Thalang district suffering the most severe flooding. Roads turned into rivers, with torrents of red silt-laden rainwater gushing down from the mountains, rendering many routes impassable to smaller vehicles.

“The floodwater will eventually make its way to the sea.”

The provincial meteorological office has offered a glimmer of hope, forecasting that the relentless rainfall is expected to ease by tomorrow, July 3, reported Thai PBS World.

In related news, the Meteorological Department of Thailand (TMD) forecasts increased rainfall over the next 10 days, from today until July 11. Bangkok and its surrounding areas are expected to experience afternoon and evening showers. TMD has updated its daily rainfall forecast, covering 24 hours from 7am.

The forecast is based on data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and indicates that red shades signify heavy rain, while blue shades denote light rain.

In other news, a fierce storm with towering waves wreaked havoc on the seafront of Banglamung on Tuesday, June 25, leaving over 30 homes in ruins. The next day, Mayor Jarewat Chinawat led a team of engineers to survey the catastrophic damage caused by severe seawater erosion. Upon inspection, the team found varying levels of destruction.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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