The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) yesterday (Nov 30) issued a very heavy weather warning for Thailand’s southeast coast, with strong wind waves and heavy rain forecast to affect the Chumphon, Surat Thani, Phattalung, Songkhla, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Pattani, Yala and Narthiwat from Dec 1-5.
The TMD earlier today (Dec 1) extended the weather warning to include the Andaman Sea. Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun have now all been added to the weather warning.
“The wind waves in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea will strengthen during Dec 3-4 2022, with waves 2-3 meters high in the lower Gulf of Thailand and higher in thundershower areas, reaching up to three metres.
“People operating boats in the area are asked to sail with caution and avoid sailing in areas with thunderstorms. Small boats in the lower Gulf of Thailand should refrain from leaving the shore,” Chalalai Jampol, Director of the TMD’s Weather Forecast Division said in the warning.
Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong yesterday inspected the landslide site on Phra Baramee Rd (Route 4029) over Patong Hill.
He cautioned that the reopening of the uphill lanes from Kathu to Patong for small four-wheeled vehicles (cars, pickups and passenger vans) remained contingent on safety.
The uphill lanes westbound over Patong Hill were opened to small vehicles yesterday. No incidents have been reported so far.
With the latest change, motorbikes and small vehicles are now allowed in both directions over the hill.
Vice Governor Pichet said checks were being conducted to determine whether the soil was stable enough to allow six-wheeled trucks over the hill.
However, whether small trucks would be allowed fully remained dependent on whether the now-reinforced embankment and the soil supporting the damaged road were strong enough, Vice Governor Pichet emphasised.
Vice Governor Pichet also repeated that the lanes over Patong Hill remaining open to traffic remained fully dependent on safety conditions, which he said was vital as Phuket enters its tourism season.
The decision whether or not to allow six-wheeled vehicles over the hill included allowing buses to use the road, he added.
“At this time, we are trying to expedite the renovation [earthworks] to be carried out as quickly as possible, with municipal officials supervising the safety of the use of routes both up and down the hill,” he said.
“They are ready to control any vehicles that are not allowed to use the route. Warning signs and checkpoints are clearly being used,” he said.
Referring to an earlier weather warning issued for the region, Vice Governor Pichet said, “If the weather changes, as a warning from Dec 4-9 says there will be heavy to very heavy rain in many areas, including the area of Phuket, there will be risk assessment and risk forecasting. to consider the use of routes as appropriate, taking into account the safety of the people and tourists who use the road is important.
“In this regard, people who drive on the road are advised to drive carefully and follow the instructions of the officials and strictly follow the traffic rules,” he said.