KATHU: A landslide early this afternoon close to the crest of Patong Hill brought traffic to a standstill as rain continued to blanket Phuket. Vice-Governor Pongpow Ketthong told the Gazette that earth and large branches tumbled onto Prabaramee Rd, on the Patong side of the hill near the Pun Tao Kong Chinese shrine, causing huge traffic jams in both directions. Vehicles were able to move again after about an hour. Staff from the Patong Municipality and the Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority were still clearing debris late this afternoon. “No one was hurt and no property was damaged,” V/Gov Pongpow said. “As soon as the road has been cleared, traffic can return to normal.” Phuket was placed on a national list of landslide-prone provinces earlier this year – and continuing bad weather has accentuated the risk. Wijit Puangsombat, Chief Weather Forecaster at the Southern Regional Meteorological Center (West), said today that the rain is expected to continue for another three or four days, though it will probably not be heavy enough to trigger flooding. Between 9 am and 1 pm today, 25.6 mm of rain was recorded at Phuket Airport, 35.6 mm in Phuket Town and 36.7 mm at Takuapa, Phang Nga. K. Wijit said Phuket’s recent weather was the result of a high pressure zone over the north of Australia that had trapped water-bearing clouds over Phuket and the Andaman region.
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