The move followed the Phuket office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation this morning issuing an island-wide flash flood and landslide warning, in effect for the next five days.
That warning followed the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) forecasting heavy rain and storms to continue to pound Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Ranong and Trang until next Monday (June 22), while a strong southerly wind blasts the Phuket and Andaman area.
Waves of up to four metres amid heavy rain and storms are expected to lash the beaches along the west coast during the period, especially in Karon and Patong, warned the TMD.
The TMD also advised large fishing boat operators to proceed with caution, but urged operators of small boats to stay in port.
Officials posting red flags at the beaches reported to The Phuket News that some tourists ignored the flags and entered the dangerous surf.
“As soon as we told one group of tourists to get out of the surf and moved further down the beach, another group right behind us turned up and went swimming,” one official said.
In Rawai, fishermen pulled their boats from the water as a precaution, though waves there were only one to two metres tall.
Meanwhile, some tour operators restricted their services today in light of the battering conditions.
Nontasak Marine Tour confirmed that a contingent of Chinese tourists were taken to a nearby island by speedboats, but the company ha dcancelled all tours to Phi Phi Island until further notice.
“We are following the weather warning from the Meteorological Department closely, and we have told our crews to be extra careful out there,” one representative at the company said.