CHIANG MAI: Summer storms and hail damaged hundreds of properties in four districts of this northern province on Saturday despite the air force deploying planes to seed silver iodide to curb hail, according to officials.
The local office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Sunday that hailstorms hit 17 tambon (sub-districts) in Mae Rim, Muang, San Kamphaeng and San Sai districts on Saturday.
In Mae Rim, summer storms struck Huai Sai, Khee Lek, Sa Luang, Mae Ram, Rim Nuea, Rim Tai and San Pong sub-districts, damaging both private and public property. Trees, power poles and billboards fell across roads.
In Muang district, hailstorms damaged 579 houses and farmland in Suthep sub-district. Power poles collapsed onto roads and caused vast blackouts in Fa Ham sub-district. More houses were damaged in Mae Hia and Nong Hoi sub-districts.
In San Kamphaeng district, sugar palm trees were blown down in Sam Kamphaeng sub-district and damaged vehicles and garages.
In San Sai district, trees fell onto high-voltage wires (click for video) and roads in San Phra Net sub-district. Blackouts occurred in San Sai Noi and Mae Faek Mai sub-districts. Two power poles were felled in Nong Han sub-district.
Meanwhile, RAdm Prapas Sonjaidee, spokesman for the air force, said it had this month deployed refurbished Alpha Jet planes from Wing 41 in Chiang Mai to seed silver iodide in rainclouds to stimulate rain and thus curb hail in the northern province.
Such missions were risky for pilots because they had to fly into storms, he said.
A tenant shows hailstones collected from a condo balcony in tambon Suthep of Muang district, Chiang Mai, on Saturday. (Photo: Alexander Bortsov)