Disaster office issues thunderstorm, landslide warning for Phuket

PHUKET: The Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), Viboon Sanguanpong, today issued a warning for 18 provinces ahead of expected heavy thunderstorms.

The warning urged people to exercise extra caution tomorrow as heavy rains could cause flash flooding, strong winds, and landslides.

The warning was likely issued ahead of a low-pressure system from the South China Sea making landfall and crossing into Thailand today.

In addition to Phuket, the alert was issued for Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, and Trang provinces as well as Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Phrae, Tak, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun and Uttaradit.

Mr Viboon advised people living in risk areas to secure loose agricultural, garden and yard items as well as anything else that might “blow away or be damaged”.

He reminded people there were many disaster warning signs to look out for, such as water in streams changing color to match mountain soil, which is often a warning of an impending flash flood.

Other warning signs he noted included panicked animal cries and calls coming from the forest, rainfall lasting longer than six hours; rainfall exceeding 100 millimeters and river water levels rapidly rising.

Small trees and logs flowing downstream were also identified as possible warnings of natural disasters, he noted.

Despite the DDPM alert, the Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast) of the Meteorological Department, based in Phuket, gave as its 24-hour forecast from 5pm today as only scattered thundershowers covering about 30% of the southern region’s west coast, with Phuket and Krabi expected at only 10%.

According to the Phuket MET’s forecast, winds are expected to be between 10 to 35kph, and wave heights one meter high, rising to two meters in thunderstorm areas.

In the event of disaster, people are urged to call the 24-hour “disaster line” Tel: 1784.

Phuket News

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