Storm sends private sector, gov’t workers home early

, , National 2 minutes, 6 seconds


SEVERAL government agencies and private companies were told to evacuate due to the raging weather conditions yesterday.

The storm was described by weather forecasters as squally showers brought on by the tail effect of Typhoon Soudelor that struck the sultanate yesterday afternoon.

According to the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department (BDMD), the squally showers caused by the typhoon affected Belait and Tutong districts the most, with intensity gradually reducing as it approached the Brunei-Muara district.

The Meteorological Department recorded strong winds moving eastward first hitting the Belait district at 2.10pm yesterday.

The wind speed was recorded at a maximum 30-50 km/h between 3.40pm and 3.50pm yesterday, BDMD said.

Taking necessary safety precautions in view of the situation, several public and private sector agencies cut short their operating hours and sent staff home early.

In a brief interview with The Brunei Times, an employee at a commercial bank in the capital said she along with her colleagues were told to evacuate due to the unexpected thunderstorm.

“We all left the office at 3.30pm, we didn’t get a memo or anything. We were just advised to leave due to the bad weather,” said the employee who opted for anonymity.

A spokesperson from the Fire and Rescue Department reported only one emergency call received from the Brunei-Muara district regarding a detached rooftop.

The call was received at 4.37pm yesterday. The spokesperson said a total of five firemen were deployed to the scene to offer assistance.

Meanwhile, a large banner located near the Teapot Roundabout was torn apart by strong winds in the early afternoon. Fortunately, the isolated incident did not pose any risk to motorists and other members of the public.

An emergency call was also made to the Fire and Rescue Department in Belait district to clear fallen tree branches obstructing the road along Jalan Labi.

The Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) yesterday reported three incidents which occurred as a direct result of the weather.

The incident in the Brunei-Muara district was of a two-vehicle collision in Sengkurong while two more were recorded in Belait.

As of press time, the latest report issued by The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, Hawaii USA stated that Typhoon Soudelor was forecasted to move towards Taiwan, hence the tail end effect and intensity of the squally showers over the country are expected to gradually ease towards the end of the week.

BDMD advises the public, motorists and mariners to take necessary steps and precautions to ensure their safety and prevention of undesirable accidents.

The Brunei Times