Waves today are forecast to be 2-3 metres close to shore and up to five metres further out to sea, with winds of up to 50 kmh expected to make conditions unsafe for all but the largest vesels.
Mata Aremean, Director of the the Phuket-based Southern Meteorological Centre (West Coast), elaborated to Phuketwan today about the dangers of the weather off Phuket at this time of year.
''The weather on and around Phuket changes often at this time of the year,'' he said. ''In a day you can have three seasons.
''Heavy downpours will come, and not far away there will be another part of Phuket with no rain.''
The capsizing of a cargo vessel not far off Phuket with loss of lives makes the potency of Phuket-region storms quite obvious.
Khun Mata said that meteorologists on Phuket rely mostly on satellite images and information from 1000 radar sites throughout Thailand, combined with air temperature readings, to make their forecasts.
Staff are trained at an institute in Thailand then required to go overseas to further their education. On return, they spend a year to 18 months working with a trained forecaster.
''By Asian standards, our equipment is fairly good,'' said Khun Mata, speaking from the forecasters' headquarters near Phuket International Airport.
''It's regrettable though that unlike many other countries, we don't have a weather television channel.
''We try to get the message out there as best we can, using Facebook.''
Seas are dangerous and changeable at this time of the year, Khun Mata says.
''Our aim is a cautious approach, built around prevention,'' he said. ''But we do understand that fishermen and people in the tourism industry want to venture out for economic reasons.
''There are simply times when it's not safe to head to sea from Phuket or the Andaman coast.
''Our message to fishermen really is quite simple: Are you going to get the fish, or are you going to save your life?''
There was a time when harbor masters in UK & Europe used to utilize a system of different shapes raised on a signal mast near the harbor entrance to indicate prevailing or forecast conditions.
Could something similar not be erected on Chalong Pier which could be clearly & easily seen by all dive boats, speed boats, pleasure craft, etc.
It is old fashioned but it does not rely on any technology & would work.
Posted by Logic on July 18, 2013 16:02
Great idea. That is precisely what's needed. Marine Office 5 is even capable of making it work, if they have the budget for flags and a flagpole.