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Wettest March ever?


Where to begin!? I only updated the weather blog 3 days ago and it was already pretty damn wet. We had 100mm of rain on Saturday (26th), then it continued rather wet on Sunday with 40mm of rain. No sun. And then Monday was a bit better, and we hoped Tuesday would improve.. only 25mm rain on Monday. Then Tuesday... I recorded 136mm of rain between 8am Tuesday and 8am Wednesday. That's wet. But there has been no flooding in Phuket, yeh maybe some water on the road here and there but nothing serious. Maybe the odd flooded field in the north of the island. No floods in Phuket and no damage. Airport open, no cancelled flights. And today I am happy to say, while it was not sunny, hardly any rain, winds have dropped now too. The Windguru forecast (see links top left of page) looks good, weather radar showing very little activity. I think everyone could do with some sun!

Because although I say there was no damage or flooding, that's not to say that the weather has been BAD. This is now the wettest March I have known, total over 400mm of rain compared to monthly average of about 100mm. We have had some cancelled dive trips the last few days and seas were rough - people were unable to leave the Similan and Surin islands - small boats could not get back to the mainland - the Thai Navy has been bringing people back on battleships! However, some dive boats have stayed and looks like they might have much much better conditions starting tomorrow.

There has been lots of flooding in Koh Samui and Ko Tao on the east coast of Thailand, and floods in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, Trang, Chumphon, Songkhla, Krabi and Phang Nga. A number of people have died due to the floods. Phuket has (again) been spared - it was the same in early November - big floods in south Thailand, but nothing much in Phuket.

Camille writes the Koh Samui Blog - some photos from his blog:

Flood

(above) damage in Koh Tao.

Chaweng, Koh Samui

(above) Chaweng, Koh Samui.

Camille says things are better in Samui today, the airport has been open again, so people can move - ferries were cancelled for a couple of days, and the navy was again in action to get people from Koh Tao to the mainland. My wife and kids have been up in Chumphon (east coast) for a week or so and have been getting very bored with the rain! But they've had no flooding.

This morning news came through of landslides in Krabi province, the Phuket Gazette reports 12 dead and 30 missing in a remote area. Sounds pretty bad.

Meanwhile... it's a calm, dry night in Phuket. Hope to see some sun tomorrow.


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Wettest March ever?

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Wet March!


Someone asked me today "Is this the wettest March on record?" - well, not quite yet.. I only have rainfall data back to 1999, and in 2001, March had 249mm of rain. Sounds more like a low season month - average for June or July is less than that, and the average for March is a little over 100mm (see Phuket rain averages).

(Update 29th March): It is the wettest March now! Wettest since at least 1999 anyway. After 100mm of rain on Saturday, we had 40mm on Sunday and it got windy too, I only measured 25mm yesterday but it was not a day to be out on the ocean... some yahts were washed up on the beach at Ao Yon (Cape Panwa) yesterday! Forecast gets better starting tomorrow (30th)...

The last Phuket weather update was on 21st March - and it had been a hot week. Between the 10th and 17th there was no rain, March was looking like a hot dry month. But all that heat has to go somewhere (mostly up) and this messes with the weather. All of last week starting Sunday 20th, I have been finishing at the dive shop at 6pm, which is nice, enough time to head somewhere for a sunset photo. I wanted to stop at the well known After Beach Bar which is up in the hills above Kata Noi beach, but on Sunday it was cloudy, on Monday it was raining in the evening, on Tuesday it was raining in the evening... I had my camera in the car and took the photo below while stopped at a red light near the Prince of Songkhla University not far from our house. Rain and lights and streaks of headlights.



No worries, surely the weather would improve. You can get rainy evenings in the ot season, nothing unusual. Well, the whole week has been rather grey. I had no sunny evening for sunset photos. The weather was not what it should be! Nothing really bad, but you know, this is Phuket and people expect to get sunburn in the high season! And this weekend - worse. There has been flooding in some parts of southern Thailand around Nakhon Sri Thammarat. I saw pictures of floods in Koh Samui and Surat Thani on Camilles Koh Samui Blog. So I have a day off on Saturday. I had planned some things to do - head out and take photos at Cape Phromthep, Naiharn Beach, maybe a roast dinner at The Green Man, but the weather did not play along. Yesterday, my faithful rain gauge recorded 100 (one hundred) millimetres of rain. That's 4 inches. About the same as the average monthly rainfall for March. In one day. So we got wet. I kind of hibernated all day aside from some odd jobs around the house and going out to buy cat food and beer (I don't eat cat food, we have 2 cats). ****! Saturday was so wet, I was a bit annoyed - my day off! A nearby neighbour took this photo of Doomsday over his house:



Today (Sunday) has been the same, but with less rain. I did see some sun in the early afternoon, but then it pi**ed down again! The forecast is for maybe another Sh*tty day and then back to the heat! This is normally the hottest time of year. On Saturday afternoon, the thermometer in my garden was reading 23°C - a nice warm day in England maybe, but felt cold to me!

Check the links top left of this page for useful Phuket weather information - there are 2 webcams, a radar loop, and the Windguru forecast is normally pretty decent. And I have been updating my frustration with the weather on Twitter too! I reckon the sun will be back in Phuket soon.


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Wet March!

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And the heat goes on


And another week as passed in a blur. Phuket is hot and sunny almost all the time, except when it gets too hot and nature takes over with a thunderstorm. Light winds, fairly calm seas, yes, it's March in Phuket and the weather is good. I do apologise for a lack of updates, just there is very little to update. The last serious rainfall was on the 8th and 9th (evening thunderstorms) and since then just a few light showers such as we had this very evening. I have not been out and about with my camera, no time really - high season working 6 days per week. I wrote a blog article on Jamie's Phuket about my work - Diving Phuket with Sunrise Divers. If you want to dive, please do contact me - email info@sunrise-divers.com or call (mobile) 08 4626 4646 during office hours any day except Saturday which is my normal day off.

So .. no photos.. well, I can always steal someone elses ...

If you are on Twitter, follow @MrScottEddy for all kinds of news, gossip, tales of the bizarre and some photos of Phuket - he lives here and likes to take pictures pretty much every day...



(above) Yesterday morning at Karon Beach Phuket, photo by Scott Eddy (original)



(above) Rain coming in! Saturday evening in Phuket by Scott Eddy (original)

I planned to take a drive yesterday after work to the well known After Beach Bar which sits on the hill overlooking Kata Noi beach. Actually there are several bars there. I wanted a nice sunset photo and a chance to blog this bar which has been a Phuket fixture since.. well, since before I came here in 1999. But the weather did not play ball, and this evening was the same, a light rain and lots of cloud this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow the sun can shine all day and give me a sunset view! The After Beach Bar is between Kata and the well known viewpoint (below) that looks over Kata Noi, Kata and Karon Beaches.

Sunset at Phuket Viewpoint

(above) the Phuket Viewpoint, photo taken in February 2011. I want a nice clear evening like that sometime in the next few days. The days are hot, great for everyone, except I finish work at 6pm. Give me a sunset! See you in Phuket! Oh and you can follow me on Twitter too!


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And the heat goes on

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Hot Days and Prayers for Japan


December 25th, 2004. Christmas Day. We met friends at Kamala Beach in Phuket. Kids played happily on the sand. We toasted another good year. My wife was 9 months pregnant with our son. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, everyone happy. The next day, it happened. I thank all the Gods in the world that "it" did not happen the day before while we were at the beach. Kamala was hit pretty hard. How fast can a 9 months old woman run? Would we and our friends have found our kids who were playing on the beach? We did not see anything next day. Safe at home near Phuket Town, a long way from the beaches. And pretty sure I'd never see another day like it. I have written several times on the blog about my tsunami memories.

If you are looking for the latest Phuket weather - sorry for not updating for over a week. Was going to update on Friday, but ended up glued to the internet, doing lots of ReTweeting as the bad news got worse. And it's still getting worse. The huge earthquake offshore Japan on Friday caused a tsunami. A big one. I think the final "death toll" (I hate that phrase) will be massive. Everyone should say a prayer in whatever language you speak to whatever god you believe in.

So.. Phuket weather - the last few days have been HOT. Saturday was quite cloudy, but the last 2 days all blue skies and very warm. I love aircon! People have been coming into our dive shop and sighing with relief. Many of the forecasts you can find online at this time of year are inaccurate. They tend to show a little thunderstorm symbol, which looks to people like it's really bad weather every day. The reality is - sure, there might be a thunderstorm somewhere in the 500+ square kilometers of Phuket. I can see distant lightening tonight from our house, but it's dry as a bone here. We had a couple of evening thunderstorms last week on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a total of over 50mm of rain those 2 nights but no rain since then. You get some rain in the hot season, but on average March is the 4th driest month of the year after February, January and December in that order. And April, also hot with occasional thunder, is in 5th place. It's a good time to be here in Phuket!


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Hot Days and Prayers for Japan

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Hot Season in Phuket


Personally, I think Phuket does have more than just 2 seasons. Websites that say simply "Dry from November to April, and wet from May to October" are not telling the whole story. November is dry season? I have rain data back to 1998. In 7 of the last 13 years, July was drier than November. Last year December was wetter than May. Low season weather is often pretty decent. Tourists are sometimes surprised to be having rain when they were told that it's "dry season" by their travel agent. Fair enough, on average, the 6 wettest months are May to October and this is due to the wind - the prevailing wind in the low season is from the Southwest, across the Indian Ocean, also called the Southwest Monsoon wind.

I think we also have a "cool" season here which is essentially winter - December to February. The days are a tiny bit shorter, the skies are often quite clear and the nights can be noticeably cool by Phuket standards, meaning 22-24 degrees C. And now, with the arrival of March, right on cue, the HOT season is here in Phuket. The winds that sometimes blow quite strongly from the northeast in the high season will die down, and we get some hot days with very little cooling breeze. Seems to me like every day since 1st March has been like this. It's hot!

And with the heat you can get thunderstorms. Heat rises, taking moisture with it, and then often in late afternoon or the night, this moisture cools and condenses and mixed with still rising warm air currents, you get thunderstorms. We had a cracker on March 1st, with 30mm of rain, and another one on the 2nd, with 21mm rain. Both in the night time. Have not seen any rain since then, except a few drops tonight. Looked like a thunderstorm was coming last night but did not reach where I was. May have rained in Patong a bit. I love big tropical thunderstorms :)

The weather forecasts at this time of year are useless. Most main weather websites have a thunderstorm symbol EVERY day, which looks a bit scary. This means "chance of a thunderstorm" or "scattered thunderstorms" and should say "Look, it will be really hot and sunny, and you might get a thunderstorm late in the day or in the night, or you might see distant flashes of lightening and get no rain in your location".

I stopped at Kata beach for a few minutes on March 4th, which happened to be my birthday. Blue skies, nothing but blue skies.

Kata Beach 4th March

The weekend has been (you guessed it) HOT. Saturday is my day off, but we did not do much - my wife has a bit of a paranoid streak with the weather - too hot for the kids, they might get sick... and they have end of year school tests next week before a 2 month "summer" holiday. Thai school holidays fall at the hottest time of year. We hung around the house most of the day having family fun. My main achievement was to build this:

Wooden Castle

Hey that was hard work on a hot day! Some friends are leaving Phuket and gave us a bunch of their old toys and so on... the castle came in pieces, about 50 pieces and screws ... and no instructions. I was quite proud of my castle! And happy that it was appreciated on a hot Phuket day :)

My Boy playing with wooden castle


The Phuket Weather Blog

Hot Season in Phuket

More About Phuket : Jamie's Phuket Blog