Phuket beaches closed due to bad weather

PHUKET (Gazette, The Nation): Winds gusting up to 35 kilometers an hour and waves of up to two meters in height crashing along Phuket’s west coast forced lifeguards to close nearly all of Phuket’s main beaches today.

Siripong Yukhonthorn, Deputy President of the Andaman Life Saving Club and a senior figure in the provincial government’s Life Guard project, told the Gazette, “Due to the bad weather, red flags have been put up at Phuket’s beaches since this morning.

“We have posted the red at Kata, Karon, some parts of Patong, Bang Tao, Kamala, Surin, Nai Harn and especially in the north at Mai Khao, Nai Yang and Nai Thorn, where it is dangerous for tourists to swim right now.”

“Tourists were allowed to swim at only some parts of Patong Beach, such as in front of Phuket Graceland Hotel, and at some sections at Bang Tao Beach,” he added.

Heavy rains and a tropical depression looming off the west coast have prompted all national parks, especially those with waterfalls, to be put on alert for flash-floods and landslides.

Ships’ captains are also advised to be on alert until tomorrow.

National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department Chief Chalermsak Wanichsombat instructed officials at national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and forest reserves to follow weather reports closely. He told them to consider closing any area where rainfall exceeds 100 millimeters.

No attraction has yet been closed, but officials have been ordered to put safety gear in place in case of an emergency. Disaster-warning systems are in the pipeline as a long-term solution.

Water Resources Department Director-General Siripong Hungspreug said 400 rainfall-measuring stations had been installed in the north and south of the country. Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon have had so much rain they are at risk of floods and landslides, he added.

The heavy rain and flooding late yesterday forced Prachuap Khiri Khan to declare Hua Hin a “disaster zone”. A bridge in Tambon Hin Lek Fai was swamped by floods, and a temporary bridge had to be erected for villagers.

Phuket News

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