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Phuket mops up after storm lashes island, plunges businesses into darkness

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket) this morning reported that they had not received any reports of damage to houses or structures from yesterday’s battering by strong winds and driving rain.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Monday 17 September 2018, 11:25AM

A video posted by Aroon Solos shows the howling winds breaking large panes of glass on the catwalk joining the two Central Phuket shopping mall buildings. Screengrab: Aroon Solos

A video posted by Aroon Solos shows the howling winds breaking large panes of glass on the catwalk joining the two Central Phuket shopping mall buildings. Screengrab: Aroon Solos

At the height of the storm, wind speeds in and around Phuket Town exceeeded 46km/h and more than 54mm of rainfall was recorded in one three-hour period.

Before the storm arrived, the DDPM national office in Bangkok issued a “yellow warning” for many areas across the country, including Phuket Phang Nga and Krabi. (See here.)

However, DDPM-Phuket Chief Prapan Kanprasang told The Phuket News this morning (Sept 17), “We have not yet had any reports from people suffering from the effects of the heavy rain and wind from yesterday.

“Also there are not reports about landslides or accidents from flooding,” he said.

Consequently, it appears that the DDPM-Phuket office was not informed of the windows on the catwalk over Wichit Songkhram Rd joining the newly opened Central Floresta building and the long-standing Central Festival building.

Videos of the damage done, with large panes of glass broken and wind and rain driving into the catwalk, were posted online by Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos, gaining more than 17,000 views and hundreds of shares overnight. (See here.)

Of note, any glass that did not fall into the catwalk would have fallen down onto the footpath below.

Central Phuket management issued a statement recognising the incident.

“Central Phuket apologises to all customers about this incident which was caused by this heavy storm. We are investigating the details immediately and are trying to fix it urgently.

“The walkway between the two buildings is exposed, so it is necessary for us to have glass installed into the spaces (where previous panes broke) to prevent the wind and rain from coming into into the walkway.

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“An engineer has been assigned to inspect this urgently. The structure of the walkway is still strong and safe, and did not suffer any damage from this storm,” the statement said.

“We sincerely apologise and thank you very much for sharing important information about this moment,” it added.

Meanwhile, blackouts struck areas across the island.

Staff at the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) Patong office told The Phuket News this morning winds brought down power cables at 17 locations throughout the busy tourism town.

“Today we still have seven of those power outages to to fix,” one staffer said.

Calls by The Phuket News to the main PEA office for Phuket for an update on what areas were affected or still without power went unanswered.

Though one resident in the Soi Taiad Chalong area confirmed that the street was left with out power from just after 4pm. Power was restored to most of the businesses after 10pm, but some houses were still without power supply this morning.

Thai Meteorological Department Director-General Wanchai Sakudomchai this morning (Sept 17) re-issued a weather warning for most of the country, including the Andaman coast.

“During 17-20 September, the wind will become strong with the waves about 2-4 metres high in the Andaman Sea but above 4 metres high in thundershower areas and 2-3 metres high in the upper Gulf,” the warning said.

“All ships should proceed with caution, small boats do not venture out, and people along the seashore keep off the inshore surge,” Mr Wanchai added. (See warning here.)



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Rorri_2 | 19 September 2018 - 16:02:34

"Now complaining about media coverage," did I miss something, who is complaining, about media coverage.

Jor12 | 18 September 2018 - 19:07:36

Good lord. Now complaining about media coverage. Unbelievable. If their are complaints about reported wind speeds they should be directed to the Meteorological office rather than make incorrect statements which readers it seems are prevented to correct

Kurt | 18 September 2018 - 11:56:15

Winds about 46 km/h are not seen as 'heavy storm' meteo-wise. Wind Speed 39-49 km/h is just Force 6 on the scale of Beaufort, defined as 'Strong Breeze' only.
Thai  exaggerate wind speed to cover up the strenght poorness of their constructions that not even can stand a 'Strong Breeze'.
Heavy Storm is Force 10 Bft = 89 -102 km/h.

Timothy | 18 September 2018 - 09:09:23

Wow. Poor design, construction? No inspections by engineers? First storm after grand opening. Winds only 46k and the windows blow in. Wonder how those crumpling columns at Jungceylon are doing. I can guarantee you that if the same defect were found in a building in others countries it would have been closed for many months, perhaps permanently.   

CaptainJack69 | 17 September 2018 - 12:13:32

A large area of Kathu, at least from the market by the Caltex intersection north and west all the way to Kathu temple, including all the adjoining sois was without power from just after 1:30pm to well after 6pm.  5 and a half hours without power.  Meanwhile I didn't see any problems in Patong, why does it get all the headlines?

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