The annual Thai water festival will be a trigger for afternoon downpours and gusts that pose a significant threat to small boats around Phuket, forecasters warned today.
''The mornings should be fine for the next few days but small boats will be in danger during the afternoons,'' said a spokesperson for the Phuket-based Southern Meteorological Centre (West Coast).
''We expect regular storms with gusts of up to 35kmh or more and waves of three to four metres in Phuket seas.''
Some of those coming storms will develop around Phuket in precisely the timeframe that speedboat ''captains'' look to head back to shore after daytrips to Phi Phi and other islands.
Daily forecasts for the next week on Phuket predict about 40 percent chance of rain each day, which will be delivered in the form of notorious Phuket microstorms.
Tourists are advised to check weather forecasts and to make sure tour guides and boat captains are aware of the need for safety at all times.
Phuket usually has 10 days of rain in February, 10 in March and 12 in April as the dry season gives way to the arrival of the monsoons.
Rain comes more frequently between April and October, when monsoons again herald the return of the dry season, Phuket's premium time for tourist visitors.
In past years, when the hot weather has continued beyond April with little cloud cover, Phuket's coral reefs have been bleached by excessive sunshine.
If the dry breaks as scheduled, there should be no repetition of coral bleaching this year.
The arrival of the May monsoons is also the most dangerous time for swimming on Phuket's beaches. With the storms come changes in the current patterns, and the development of what are called ''rips.''
Rips form at several of Phuket's most popular west coast beaches, including Patong and Karon. In an eight-week period between mid-May and mid-July lasy tear, eight tourists drowned on Phuket's west coast beaches.
Swimmers are advised to obey lifeguard red-flag warnings and to only swim between the safety flags.
Some resorts treat the safety of their guests seriously and warn them on days when the beaches of Phuket are too dangerous for swimming. Other resorts ignore their responsibility.
One Patong three-star resort had two guests drown at the same spot on Patong beach last year but told
Recognising the need to warn residents and tourists, Phuket Public Health Office once provided regular monthly updates of the number of deaths on Phuket's roads and from drownings.
Those updates ceased in April last year.
While there will be a safety campaign on Phuket's roads for the week covering the particularly dangerous Songkran New Year period, there have been no figures released for road deaths or drownings on Phuket for 2012, or for the first three months of 2013.