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Patong's Novotel corner under heavy flooding in July in bad weather

Patong Hill Reopens: VIP Caught in Phuket Storm

Friday, August 28, 2009
Phuketwan UPDATE

POLICE closed the Patong Hill road between Patong and Phuket City because of heavy rain and flooding on Friday evening. Motorists were advised to take the long-way routes via Kamala or Karon. By 8pm, a single lane had been reopened over the hill.

Original Report: Photo Album Below

A SENIOR Thai bureaucrat on a private speedboat trip with three young women fell victim today to unusually heavy weather around the Phuket region.

Flooding was reported all across the island, but especially in Patong where some roads became impassable. A large landslip blocked Nanai Road at the Suwankeeri Temple intersection.

August appears to have brought a monsoon deluge that usually does not arrive until September, an official at the Phuket Bureau of Meteorology told Phuketwan today.

Caught out by stormy weather about noon today was the Permanent Secretary of the Commerce Ministry, Dr Weerasak Jinarat.

He was among a party of six, including three young women, when their speedboat, on the way back from a private visit to a holiday island, became lost in driving rain and was tossed by unusually high waves of up to three metres.

The speedboat operator called in the Navy, which sent a boat to the rescue of the bureaucrat VIP, who at that stage was reported to be seasick, along with his companions.

Only after the emergency call was it discovered that Dr Weerasak was on Phuket, making the visit in a private capacity with friends.

In a report of the incident published online, the Thai newspaper Khaosod said that Dr Weerasak would usually have been expected to attend an important parliamentary meeting in Bangkok today, with his minister and other ministers and their permanent department heads.

Although Dr Weerasak was visiting Phuket in a private capacity, Khaosod reported that he received a VIP escort from police and hotel accommodation had been booked through the Commerce Department.

After their adventure on the usually uneventful 30-minute trip to He island, Dr Weerasak's group was returned safely to Chalong.

Today's storm was just the latest symptom of a change in weather patterns for Phuket and the region in August.

Normally August has 10 rainy days, according to the bureau, but this year wet weather had come ''on almost every day,'' a spokesperson said.

Phuket in the May to October wet season is being marketed as ''Summer'' for the first time this year.

The bureau said today that midnight to 4.44pm, Pa Klok had 84.5 mm, Kamala-Patong 118 mm, Karon 64 mm, and the airport 122mm.

The forecast for the weekend: more of the same. Not good weather for speedboat rides.

When Patong Floods: Check Our Photo Special

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Comments

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New advert for the so called summer season . . . Surfs up in Patong main road, grab your boards ...surfing Phuket. Cool.

Posted by Graham on August 28, 2009 17:52

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Your report on Patong hill closing last night says it was due to heavy rain and flooding. It was actually due to part of the road collapsing and a big hole opening up>>> http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd194/coolstrides/SubsideLarge.jpg

Editor: Thanks for the info . . . it's a bit chicken and egg. We'd score it hole 1, rain 3. We've been on the hill when it was close to impassable (check our album) and the flooding yesterday was, as the experts opine, ''particularly nasty weather.''

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2009 11:24


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